Understanding the risks of falling in older adults

Falls can cause pain and injury for even the healthiest of people which explains in part why an older adult may suffer even worse consequences after a fall. Most elderly people already experience limited mobility, vision problems and balance issues which put them at a significantly higher risk of slipping, tripping and falling.

When people understand just how detrimental a fall could be to an older person’s health and well-being, they may have more incentive to protect the elderly people in their life.

A setback to independence

One of the most difficult aspects of aging for many people is the realization that their days of self-sufficiency and independence will not last much longer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of death in older adults. For many at-risk adults, even a short fall could mean the end of their independence.

Families, caretakers and health care providers can work together to educate and protect the elderly against falls. Older adults taking medications should monitor how they feel after taking certain drugs and notify their doctor if they feel dizzy or sleepy. They can also increase their consumption of Vitamin D to help their body respond more effectively to calcium which helps to strengthen bones.

An accelerant to death

An elderly adult could face a number of risks from falling. For example, if older people fall and break a hip, this event could be the start of worsening health problems. Coupled with the mental and emotional stress of losing independence, falls could rapidly increase the process of aging and death. According to AgingCare, other risks of falls include increased vulnerability to other illnesses and reduced activity levels.

One study reported that after suffering a non-fatal fall, complications still compromised the health of participants in jarring ways. In fact, 22 percent of participants never regained their independence upon their return from the hospital.