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What Makes Elderly More Likely to Fall?

What Makes Elderly More Likely to Fall?

Medical Care Alert on Apr 8th 2024

What Makes Older Adults More Likely to Fall?

Falls can be scary for older adults and their family members, especially if they live alone or are prone to frequent falls. Although falls can happen to anyone, they can lead to especially serious injuries for seniors, and even people appearing strong and healthy can fall and face painful outcomes. Possessing a fear of falling can also impact a senior's life and peace of mind, preventing them from being active or social.

Many caregivers and family members seek ways to prevent falls and ensure seniors can quickly get assistance if they do fall. By understanding why elderly individuals can fall so often, their loved ones can take the right steps to better protect them.

Common Reasons Why Elderly Individuals Fall

The risk of falling increases as people age, and one out of four seniors falls each year in the United States. Although some factors for falling may be hard or impossible to control, you can manage other risks with proper care.

  • Deteriorating hearing or eyesight: The senses become less sharp as humans age. It can become more challenging to see or hear vital information that could prevent falls. The inner ear also impacts balance, meaning older adults may face challenges with keeping their balance when walking, standing or sitting. Additionally, senior reflexes are typically less acute, making them more likely to fall rather than catch themselves or regain their balance.
  • Conditions impacting balance: Certain conditions can impact balance, causing seniors to fall more frequently. For example, thyroid issues, heart disease and diabetes can cause balance or dizziness problems that can increase elderly fall risk.
  • Rushed movements: Seniors may experience rushed movements, such as trying to make it to the bathroom, which can lead to falls. For some, sitting or standing too quickly could cause their blood pressure to drop significantly, resulting in a faint, lightheaded experience that impacts balance.
  • Muscle mass loss: Sarcopenia, gradual muscle mass loss, occurs naturally as people age. This condition often affects a person's ability to perform daily activities and is a large factor in increased falls. As muscle fibers decrease, the muscles thin, leading to slow walking speeds, stamina loss and poor balance.
  • Foot problems: Some foot conditions can cause pain, increasing fall risks. Additionally, improper or unsafe footwear can impact balance and result in more tripping or stumbling.
  • Some medications: Various medications can have side effects such as confusion or dizziness that can increase fall risks. Sedatives, blood pressure medication, sleep medications, some antidepressants and other medications can affect balance. If an older adult is taking multiple balance-impacting medications, they may be more likely to experience these side effects.

  • Safety hazards: Safety hazards can occur in any location, including the home or a community environment. Simple hazards like the lifted edges of a rug, toys on the floor or a messy room can increase fall risks.

Elderly Fall Prevention Tips

Although it may be challenging or impossible to monitor every risk, there are several ways to minimize hazards and ensure seniors have the support they need if they do fall.

  • Practicing physical activity: Regular exercise makes people stronger and improves muscles. An effective exercise program can also improve tendons, joints and ligaments, making people more flexible. Physical activity can slow bone loss, allowing seniors to live independently for longer.
  • Strength training: Along with regular physical activity, strength and balance training are specific activities seniors can add to their routines to target muscle strength and balance. Lifting small weights and using resistance bands are excellent ways to improve balance and decrease fall risks.
  • Testing eyes and hearing: The ears and eyes can significantly impact the chances of an older adult falling. Older adults must have regular eye and hearing tests to monitor their condition and take necessary precautions. If a provider recommends glasses or a hearing device, seniors must ensure they fit and wear them properly.
  • Standing slowly: To avoid a significant drop in blood pressure, older adults can practice standing and sitting up slowly. Reducing fast motions can prevent dizziness and confusion that can make the person feel off-balance or wobbly.
  • Understanding medication: It is critical to understand the possible side effects of any medication and whether a person can take other medications at the same time. Knowing potential side effects can help form medication schedules to minimize risks. Additionally, older adults should always alert their providers if a medication makes them dizzy or sleepy.
  • Taking extra caution: Seniors should take extra care when walking on wet or icy surfaces and navigating objects in a room. If possible, the older adult should avoid messy rooms with objects on the ground or have someone guide them through to avoid tripping. Similarly, they can wear supportive shoes with low heels and skid resistance to improve their traction when walking outside or around the house.

Taking Precautions With Smart Devices

If a senior falls at home, it's important to have a plan for quick assistance. Thankfully, there are several fall detection devices and systems that can alert the appropriate people if a senior falls.

For example, the SmartWatch Pro has built-in fall detection. These watches feature large screens for easy usage and visuals for older adults. This device has GPS tracking, so emergency response agents can quickly identify and locate a senior who falls. When the watch detects a fall, it automatically alerts operators, who will assess the situation and call for additional help if necessary.

Seniors can also enjoy the watch for daily usage thanks to many useful features. Seniors can use the heart rate monitor to track their heart rate in real-time while exercising or taking certain medications. The caregiver app can send medication reminders, and family members can use it to track the watch's location. Seniors can also use the emergency calling feature to seek help for falls and other urgent situations, providing peace of mind no matter where they are.

Find Peace of Mind With Medical Care Alert

At Medical Care Alert, we aim to provide peace of mind by ensuring help is only a button push away. Medical Care Alert provides services to empower older adults to live at home independently for longer. We offer a range of systems to ensure seniors have the support they need. From in-home systems to smartwatches to GPS systems, family members can feel confident that those they love are receiving the support they need.

Our award-winning systems have received high ratings across many platforms. You don't have to take our word for it — our customers have expressed their appreciation for our systems, and you can browse their reviews at any time. You can easily request more information about our systems, and we encourage you to reach out with any questions