Aging can be associated with a gradual loss of muscle mass, strength, and power. Hence, older individuals are more susceptible to fall. Unfortunately, at the age, a fall can most likely be fatal, and when not, it can still have a detrimental effect on one’s health. According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
An injury following a fall is associated with decreased quality of life and poor functional outcome; in severe injuries, these effects continue for a prolonged period. Since aging is associated with the degeneration of psychological and physical functions, the frequency of falling is at higher risk. To prevent your loved ones from suffering a fall, it is important to know what possibly causes a fall that may stem from it.
As we age, changes in our bodies occur. The physical changes in the body are often the most apparent. The physiological effect of aging causes a person to become less active when it comes to physical activity. Therefore, this results in living a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. Having such a lifestyle may result in loss of balance and coordination, decrease muscle strength and endurance. Also, the decrease in bone quality will then contribute to weakness and slowed movement.
If you attempt to walk in an unfamiliar place that is dimly lit, the chances of falling or tripping are high. This example is like having an impaired vision. Age-related diseases minimize the possibility of being able to see clearly. It hinders the person’s ability to avoid obstacles such as hazards, steps, and thresholds that can potentially cause an accident. Failing to see what is ahead of your path can lead to an injury.
Older people may need medications that are important to help maintain their good health. However, some medications can have side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and low blood pressure. These, in turn, can contribute to increased weakness, less endurance, and less ability to function well in day-to-day life. Concerning that, an injury from a fall will likely result if elders are not properly supervised knowing they are on medication.
Chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis are also the leading causes of disability in the United States. These kinds of fatal diseases can cause extreme weakness, balance disorders, and cognitive impairment. Having such a disease can give a person poor physical health that increases a person’s chance of overcoming the risk of falling and minimizes their chance of recovering from a sudden accident.
One of the most common surgical procedures for the elderly is hip and knee replacements, cataracts, and heart surgery. All of which may leave a patient with little to no strength. Operations can leave an older person weak and in pain. Although this can be temporary while the patient heals, it is important to keep a close eye if they need assistance. They will not have the strength and mobility they had after the surgery is done.
Environmental hazards can threaten the safety of a household. Slippery floor surfaces, inadequate lighting, loose carpets, and the absence of protection or preventive devices such as safety equipment contribute to the possible risk of an older person sustaining injuries through falling.
Given that each person is different from the other, our lifestyle is the same. Due to our differences, the risk of a person falling or suffering from an accident depends on our unique way of living and behavior. Some activities require a certain level of physical strength. An example would be doing a task that requires power that is beyond our capabilities. This kind of instance can involve a great deal of physical effort for older people. Failing to alter behaviors can lead to a fall for older individuals.
Fall prevention is needed to keep our loved ones safe and healthy. If you are eager to learn more about what causes older people to fall, click this infographic.