The most recent news and information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Among older adults, falls are a common reason for trips to the emergency room (ER) and hospital. According to the National Council on Aging, every 13 seconds an older adult is seen in the ER for a fall-related injury, many of which are fall-related fractures.
According to the Centers of Disease Control:
As a caregiver, you have the power to prevent your loved one from falling and help maintain his/her overall quality of life and independence.
Many falls are linked to physical conditions, medical problems, medications, or safety hazards in the home.
Because a fall can lead to a serious injury and a loss of independence, a fear of falling is common as people get older. Many people, who fall even if they aren’t injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear can cause them to limit activities, which can lead to a loss of physical mobility and actually increase their risk of falling.
One in three adults 65 and older fall each year, but less than half talk to their doctor about it. If your loved one has fallen, be sure to tell their provider even if your loved one isn’t hurt. Many causes of falls can be treated or prevented. Your loved ones omay suggest changes to medications or eyewear prescriptions. Depending on the cause of the fall, the provider may suggest physical therapy or using a walking aid.
1. Talk to your loved one’s health care provider about taking a falls assessment and share your loved one’s fall history. It is important to describe the frequency, time, and potential causes (e.g. dizziness, tripping, and weak legs).
2. Review your loved one’s medications with a doctor or pharmacist. People who take four or more medications are at a greater risk of falling. Some medications may cause side effects, such as dizziness, light headedness, and muscle weakness – all of which can lead to an increased risk of falls. It is important to regularly discuss these concerns with a healthcare provider in case medications adjustments need to be made.
3. Find a good exercise or balance program Exercise helps prevent falls by strengthening your muscles and improving balance (Tai Chi programs are especially good).
4. Have your loved one’s eyesight checked regularly. It is recommended to have eyesight checked yearly. Ask your loved one’s doctor if he or she needs glasses or make sure his/her prescription is still correct.
5. Six out of ten falls happen in the home. Make your home safer by:
Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which bones become brittle and fragile due to loss of bone tissue. Typically, this is a result of hormonal changes, or a deficiency in calcium or Vitamin D. This condition makes bones thin and brittle, and more likely to break. In fact, it’s a major reason why women past menopause experience fractures. For someone who has osteoporosis, even a minor fall can cause a fracture.
Helpful Signs to Watch for:
Women and men who have experienced a fracture due to osteoporosis are 20 times more likely to have another. Studies show that one out of five of those fractures will happen within one year of the previous fracture. If you, or a loved one, have had a recent fracture, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible to assess the need for a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test or medication.
Osteoporosis is treatable. Besides calcium, vitamin D, and lifestyle changes, there are medications that may reduce the chance of a fracture by 50%.
A BMD test measures how much calcium and other types of minerals are in an area of your bone. This test helps your health care provider detect osteoporosis and predict your risk of bone fractures
You should have bone mineral testing or screening if you have an increased risk of osteoporosis.
You are more likely to get osteoporosis if you are a woman aged 65 or older or a man aged 70 or older.
Loved ones may be at increased risk of osteoporosis if they have any of the following:
If your loved one is at increased risk of osteoporosis, current practice recommendations are BMD re-testing every two years. However, this may vary by individual. Talk to your doctor about how often you should be tested.