Falls are not a natural consequence of growing old, any more than is developing Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than one third of U.S. adults who are age 65 and older fall yearly.
The injuries sustained by falls are the cause of most deaths due to injuries. Falls are also the most common cause of admissions to the hospital as well as nonfatal injuries in the over 65 population.
Programs such as muscle strengthening and programs which help with balance are beneficial for older adults. Other steps that individuals in this age group can take to lessen the risk of falling include:
- A yearly review of prescription and over-the-counter medications to check for possible interactions and side effects;
- A yearly examination by an opthamologist, and
- Assessing the safety of the home environment which includes removing hazards such as throw rugs or improvement/addition of lighting
Individuals who use walking aids such as canes and walkers are not immune from falling. It’s important for these aids to be fitted properly. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has a new tip sheet on Proper Fit of Walking Aids to help avoid injury.