Fall proofing the home for older adults

January 17, 2019

Falls are dangerous to the elderly. Head injuries or complications from bone fractures resulting from falls are not uncommon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that yearly, more than one in four older adults aged 65 and older experience falls. In the US, falls are the top cause of injuries and death from injury.  Falls are also costly. Among older adults, fall incidences translate to more than US$31 billion in annual Medicare costs. These costs will increase unless effective preventive measures are put in place and observed.

As global population of age 65 and above increases, prevalence of falls is also likely to go up. According to the US National Institutes for Health (NIH), this age group accounts for over 8.5% of the global population in 2016.

Older adults are more prone to falling because their eyesight and hearing weaken, which can make it harder to avoid hazards leading to a fall. Bones also deteriorate with age. The weak and porous bones of the elderly are more brittle.

Calcium supplements can slow bone deterioration, but the best means of protection is to build them up as much as possible during childhood, adolescence, and early adult years through exercise and healthy living.

CDC also offered these recommendations to prevent falls among the elderly, including regular eye examinations to assess whether the patient requires eyeglasses or further treatments from vision problems due to glaucoma or cataract; and a suggestion for proper footwear to prevent slips.

Make the home safer by removing things that can make one trip over like papers, books, clothes, shoes, rugs and other such objects. Keeping bathrooms, stairs and other common areas in the home slip-proof by securing rugs with tape and using non-slip mats can help keep older adults safe.

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Category: Features, Health alert

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