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Fear of falling

Jul 28, 2018, 23:00 PM
Know the risks and prevention tips
4_iStock-646807950

Anyone can fall and become injured; however, as people age they are more likely to fall and are more likely to suffer serious injuries from a fall.

The most common type of fall is a ground-level fall, which happen when a person is doing normal activities such as walking, getting in or out of the shower or bending over to pick something up off the floor. According to the Centers for Disease Control (2017), more than one out of four people 65 years and older fall each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Worse yet, for people 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency room visits and accidental deaths.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for a fall vary widely from person to person. However, older age, poor health, osteoporosis and a history of falls are common risk factors. Further, if a person does not have a lot of muscle strength, especially in their legs, the person is likely to suffer from bad balance, which can cause a fall. Taking certain medications for blood pressure, heart issues, diuretic or water pills and muscle relaxers can also increase a person’s risk for falls. Those who take any of these medications should talk to their provider about how it may contribute to your risk of falling.

What can you do to prevent falls?

  1. Preventive care: By keeping up-to-date on your annual physicals, eye exams, hearing tests and bone-density screenings, you can better understand your risk and prevent falls.
  2. House ready: Falls often occur in the home because that is where we feel most comfortable and we might not be as careful when walking near obstacles. It is common to trip over items such as area rugs, ottomans, pets and open dishwasher doors.
  3. Assistive devices: There are many types of assistive devices, such as bench transfers, raised toilet seats, and sit/stand transfer aids, which can help to reduce your risk of falling. Those who feel unsteady getting in and out of the shower, up and down off the toilet, or in and out of bed, should tell their doctor and ask about an assistive device.
  4. Community classes: Local community groups offer many classes to help people strengthen their muscles and improve balance. Look for classes that focus on those elements. Some examples are yoga, tai chi and water aerobics.

How to Fall

Injuries suffered from a fall can severely affect a person’s quality of life. Many people who suffer a serious fall do not recover the same quality of life they had before the fall. The following tips are from the AARP article “The Art of Falling” (2017), to help avoid injury while falling:

  1. Stay bent: If you feel you are beginning to fall, bend the knees and elbows to help soften the impact of the fall. Going rigid increases the impact and the risk of injury.
  2. Protect your head: If you are falling forward, turn your face to the side. If you are falling backward, tuck your chin to your chest.
  3. Land on the meaty parts of your body: If you can position yourself to fall on your butt or thighs, you are less likely to break a bone.
  4. Keep falling: It is an instinct to prevent yourself from falling. However, if you feel yourself falling, it is safer to give into the fall. While this might not seem safer, when you try to prevent your fall your body goes rigid, which increases your risk of injury. Try rolling with the fall in order to spread the impact across your whole body rather than to one concentrated location.

 

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Last post : 12/14/2019

Fear of falling

Jul 28, 2018, 23:00 PM
Know the risks and prevention tips
4_iStock-646807950

Anyone can fall and become injured; however, as people age they are more likely to fall and are more likely to suffer serious injuries from a fall.

The most common type of fall is a ground-level fall, which happen when a person is doing normal activities such as walking, getting in or out of the shower or bending over to pick something up off the floor. According to the Centers for Disease Control (2017), more than one out of four people 65 years and older fall each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Worse yet, for people 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency room visits and accidental deaths.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for a fall vary widely from person to person. However, older age, poor health, osteoporosis and a history of falls are common risk factors. Further, if a person does not have a lot of muscle strength, especially in their legs, the person is likely to suffer from bad balance, which can cause a fall. Taking certain medications for blood pressure, heart issues, diuretic or water pills and muscle relaxers can also increase a person’s risk for falls. Those who take any of these medications should talk to their provider about how it may contribute to your risk of falling.

What can you do to prevent falls?

  1. Preventive care: By keeping up-to-date on your annual physicals, eye exams, hearing tests and bone-density screenings, you can better understand your risk and prevent falls.
  2. House ready: Falls often occur in the home because that is where we feel most comfortable and we might not be as careful when walking near obstacles. It is common to trip over items such as area rugs, ottomans, pets and open dishwasher doors.
  3. Assistive devices: There are many types of assistive devices, such as bench transfers, raised toilet seats, and sit/stand transfer aids, which can help to reduce your risk of falling. Those who feel unsteady getting in and out of the shower, up and down off the toilet, or in and out of bed, should tell their doctor and ask about an assistive device.
  4. Community classes: Local community groups offer many classes to help people strengthen their muscles and improve balance. Look for classes that focus on those elements. Some examples are yoga, tai chi and water aerobics.

How to Fall

Injuries suffered from a fall can severely affect a person’s quality of life. Many people who suffer a serious fall do not recover the same quality of life they had before the fall. The following tips are from the AARP article “The Art of Falling” (2017), to help avoid injury while falling:

  1. Stay bent: If you feel you are beginning to fall, bend the knees and elbows to help soften the impact of the fall. Going rigid increases the impact and the risk of injury.
  2. Protect your head: If you are falling forward, turn your face to the side. If you are falling backward, tuck your chin to your chest.
  3. Land on the meaty parts of your body: If you can position yourself to fall on your butt or thighs, you are less likely to break a bone.
  4. Keep falling: It is an instinct to prevent yourself from falling. However, if you feel yourself falling, it is safer to give into the fall. While this might not seem safer, when you try to prevent your fall your body goes rigid, which increases your risk of injury. Try rolling with the fall in order to spread the impact across your whole body rather than to one concentrated location.