How seniors can prevent, minimize risk of life-threatening falls

Falling is something most of us have encountered several times in our lives.

But for seniors, they can be life-threatening.

Falls are the leading cause of hospitalization for seniors and there are four primary factors that lead to those falls.

“Number one is you have to keep an eye on medication because medication, when it stacks up, it contra-indicates,” said Stan Michaels, Department of Health. “As you age, sometimes when you have medicines, if you have too many of them, they cause a little bit of dizziness and that’s a contributor.”

Another leading cause of falls is bad vision. Michaels says seniors should get their eyes checked at least once a year.

Seniors also need to stay active. Get up out of that chair and take a walk.

“You’ve got to stay active,” Michaels said. “Families have got to find something, some way to keep their loved one intact.  They got to move, they got to keep these things going because, if you lose muscle strength, you lose the ability to catch yourself or prevent yourself from a fall.”

As we age, we tend to accumulate a lot of things. This leads to another contributor to falls: clutter.

“No clutter, no cords across the path, no throw rugs. They’re deadly,” Michaels said.

When a senior falls, society feels it. Since it is the greatest reason for hospitalization, seniors require more medical care and that can cost their families and society at large.

Michaels says it’s a serious problem. “It’s so much larger than people imagine. Every hour, every day, seven days a week, a senior is transported to a hospital just because of a fall. That’s 8,700 a year. If you extrapolate that up with the money it costs, not only the physician and the hospital but 50 percent of them require some sort of rehab or some sort of care afterwards.”

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