The Impact of Falling

Each year, more than one out of every three seniors in America seek some sort of medical help because of a fall. Even more seniors fall each year and are not injured. Taking these statistics into account, it is likely that you, or someone you know, will fall some time in the near future.

Falling can be caused by many factors. Some are internal, such as slowed reflexes, balance disorders, low blood pressure, visual deficits, etc. Other causes are external factors such as poor lighting or the effects of medications. Some of these reasons are not particular to seniors. In fact, younger people also fall, but the consequences of falling are much less severe for younger people.

One of the greatest fears amongst senior citizens is the fear of falling. This fear is not an irrational fear. Falling is a primary catalyst for hospital admissions amongst seniors. Many of the seniors admitted to a hospital never go home. In fact, falls are responsible for over 40% of nursing home admissions. Even worse, 70% of accidental deaths in people over 75 years of age are caused by falls.

What to Do If You Fall

DO NOT PANIC! Remain calm and assess the situation. Overreaction to a fall may cause more injury than the fall itself. Take a few minutes to determine if you are hurt. Do not attempt to get up if you feel you are injured.

Tips to Follow If You Believe You Are Hurt:

  • Use your emergency alarm if you are wearing one. If you do not have an alarm call out for help or crawl or slide to your telephone and dial 911.
  • Move to a soft surface such as a carpet if you have fallen on a hard surface such as tile or a wooden floor. You may have to crawl or slide yourself to move.
  • Keep yourself warm until help arrives. You may consider storing a small blanket and a bottle of water in a low cupboard or tucked behind furniture in each room you typically occupy. The blanket will help prevent hypothermia (decrease in body temperature) and the water will prevent dehydration.
  • Move – lying in one place too long may cause pressure sores and/or hypothermia. Rolling side to side will unload your body weight and may prevent pressure sores from developing. Moving your arms and legs, if possible, will help you maintain body temperature until help arrives.

Download our fall recovery brochure here.  Complete with a Fall Prevention questionaire.

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