Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seniors Take Care to Avoid Falls

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, falls are the primary cause of accidental death in persons over the age of 65. Compared with children, elderly people are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized as a result of a fall. Up to 60 percent of nursing home residents fall each year, and one half of those have multiple episodes. Hip fractures are the leading fall-related injury that results in hospitalization. One fourth of elderly persons who sustain a hip fracture die within six months of the injury.

Given these grim statistics, it makes sense to do what you can to avoid falls. Common causes of falls among the elderly include:

-Accidents caused by environmental hazards (such as objects on the floor)
-Medications or alcohol
-Vertigo
-Acute illness
-Confusion and dementia
-Postural hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing up)
-Vision problems

Simply by being aware of the serious risks associated with falls can help you to be safe. Take steps to correct the things that are causing you to be unsteady on your feet. If you have a relative in a nursing home, insist that they perform a fall risk assessment and follow up with a care plan to address the risks.

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