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Preventing Falls in the Elderly

Fall-related Injury Prevention Tips for Older Adults

Falls is one of the most common cause of injury in elderly people. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says one in every three adults age 65 or older will fall and two million will be treated in an emergency department for injuries caused by falls each year.

Fall injuries like hip fractures or dislocation and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be a serious threat to older adults' health and independence.

Although falls are common in older adults, it is not an unavoidable part of aging. Truth is, many falls can be prevented and we can all play an important role in protecting our loved one.

Falls Prevention Tips

You can take part in fall-related injury prevention by encouraging the older adults that you care about to:
Engage in exercises or physical activities. Lack of exercise or being inactive can result in weak legs, which can increase the risk of falling. There are several exercise programs including Tai Chi that can help increase strength and balance.

Having their doctor or pharmacist review the medicines that they take. Some medications or combination of medicines can have side effects, such as drowsiness or dizziness. Such side effects can make falls more likely to happen. In some cases, combination of medications may also have adverse interactions.

Have their vision checked. Poor vision can make it more likely to result in some form of accident. It can make it harder for older people to get around safely. The CDC recommends older adults to have their eyes checked every year and wear glasses or contact lenses with the right prescription strength.

Family members can also help to identify potential fall hazards that need to be removed or changed, like clutter and poor lighting. About half of all falls in the U.S. happen at home, according to the CDC.

Suggested Readings

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Focus on Preventing Falls . Accessed on September 25, 2010.
Podcasts at CDC. Adult Falls . Accessed on September 25, 2010.