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September 26, 2023

Balancing Independence: Strategies for Preventing Falls in Older Adults

Falls are common among adults 65 and older, but that doesn’t mean they’re a normal part of aging. For older adults, falls are not just embarrassing. They can reduce mobility and cause serious injury or death. In this blog, we’ll discuss the statistics around falls, risk factors for falls and ways you can help prevent them.

 

Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury or death for those aged 65+. Here are some additional statistics:

  • About 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year.
  • 20% of falls cause an injury, such as a broken bone or head injury.
  • More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling.
  • Women fall more often than men.

 

Risk Factors

Many things can contribute to the chance of falling for older adults. Some common risk factors include:

  • Poor eyesight
  • Health conditions that affect balance
  • Mild cognitive impairment or dementia
  • Loss of muscle mass, which leads to problems with balance and gait
  • Low blood pressure
  • Foot pain
  • Certain medications that cause dizziness or confusion
  • Safety hazards in the home

People who live in a nursing home or assisted living community can ask for a fall risk assessment. You can also ask your primary care physician to assess your risk.

 

Prevention Strategies

If you take care of your overall health, you’ll have a lower risk of falling. Here are some tips to reduce your risk:

  • Exercise regularly and include muscle-strengthening exercises in your routine.
  • Do exercises that improve your balance, such as yoga, Pilates or tai chi.
  • Change your environment to remove obstacles, loose rugs, or other tripping hazards.
  • Know the side effects of your medications.
  • Stand up slowly to avoid getting dizzy.
  • Use an assistive device if you need help feeling steady when you walk.

 

How Touchstone Can Help

Touchstone Communities offer skilled nursing and short-term care, long-term care, memory care and rehab for seniors. Our rehabilitation therapy departments can assess residents for their fall risk, improve strength and balance with physical therapy, and help ensure a safe environment with occupational therapy. Contact Touchstone Communities for more information on how we help reduce the risk of falls, or call 210.828.5686 today.

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