Each year in the United States, falls result in 3 million emergency room
visits and 800,000 serious injuries requiring hospitalization, according
to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Many of these falls are preventable,
and at Southeast Georgia Health System, we want to ensure that you take
every precaution possible to avoid injury and hospitalization. Knowledge
is power – to arm yourself against the risk of falling, this page
discusses the common risk factors that lead to a fall and easy tips to
ensure you stay as safe as possible.
What factors can lead to a fall?
- Balance and flexibility: As we age, most of us lose coordination, flexibility,
and balance primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
- Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina making contrasting
edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see. New research suggests
hearing loss can also contribute to the risk of falling.
- Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause
dizziness, dehydration, or interactions with each other that can lead
to a fall.
- Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and
have never thought about simple modifications that might keep them safer
as they age.
- Chronic conditions: More than 90% of older adults have at least one chronic
condition like diabetes, stroke or arthritis. Often, these increase the
risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression,
pain or multiple medications.
Prevent falls with these simple steps:
- Be aware of wet and slick surfaces.
- Wear properly fitting shoes.
- Make regular doctors' appointments to check your vision and hearing.
- Exercise Regularly.
- Review medications and supplements with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Make simple home improvements.
Are you at risk?
If you’re worried about yourself or a loved one, you can discuss
your concerns and potential fall risk factors with your
primary care physician for guidance on what to do next.