The dangers of falls are well documented, and for many seniors, they can lead to serious injury or even death. It’s important that everyone be aware of the risks associated with falls and take steps to reduce their chances of falling.
According to research, two in every five adults over the age of 65 falls once per year. With two in every six falls will lead to more serious injuries. Falling is one of the biggest dangers you will encounter that can affect your overall well being, health, and quality of life.
The struggles of aging are inevitable and we all have to deal with them in one way or another. One of the most common problems for seniors is falling. A fall can lead to a variety of injuries that may not be easy to recover from and many times, these falls happen at home, so there's no medical personnel on hand.
Good thing, there are possible ways to avoid falling and lessen the risk of injuries. It is through the help of chiropractic care.
What are the dangers of falling?
It's late in the evening, and you're walking across your living room to get a glass of water. You take one step and the floor gives out beneath your feet!
Many falls can cause a person injuries, pain and may disrupt the quality of their lives. Falling can cause the patient broken and fractured bones in his arms, wrists, hips, and ankles. Head injuries are the worst thing you will experience after falling, especially for people taking medicines that act as their blood thinners.
The most common type of fall injury is a head injury. Falls are the number one cause of death for people over the age of 65, and falls are responsible for about 1 out of every 3 brain injuries in children under 15 years old.
The risk factors underlying the danger of falling:
The risk factors underlying the danger of falling are not as clear-cut as you might think. In fact, a study found that people who live in homes with more than one level or at least four steps had an increased chance of falling compared to those living on flat ground.
Other studies have found that people over 65 years old who suffer from arthritis and/or Parkinson's disease are also at greater risk for falls.
- Lower and core body muscle weakness - A person's strength in their lower and core body muscles can affect how likely they are to fall. A person's ability to operate in everyday life, like getting out of a chair or walking around the house, is largely dependent on how strong they are in their core and lower body muscles. Disabilities or diseases that weaken these muscles can cause falls.
- Cognitive impairment - Cognitive impairment can lead to falls in some cases. Let's explore a few ways this can happen and the consequences of it happening. Some people who have cognitive impairment will often fall because they don't realize their limitations or lack awareness of things around them, which is called anosognosia.
Others may also walk into open doors, off curbs or steps, or into furniture without realizing that these are harmful for their condition. This could be caused by impaired vision, hearing loss, damage to joints from arthritis or stroke (when walking becomes difficult with difficulties controlling one side of the body), and more yet unknown factors that affect balance such as poor proprioception - like Parkinson's disease.
- Difficulty in maintaining balance and walking - Getting the right balance can be a challenge for some people. For those who need to use walking sticks, it may seem even more difficult. Balance is an important part of human mobility - but what happens when you're unable to maintain your own? This article talks about how difficulty in maintaining balance and walking can lead to falls.
- Medications - As an increasing number of people are living to be older than 65 years old, the incidence of falls among this population has increased in recent years. Medications can increase the risk for falls. As more and more people live until they're over 65-years-old, there's been a rise in cases of falls among these patients.
- Muscle and joint pain - Even though it's not just old people who suffer from pain, we need to take this into consideration when designing buildings and homes for the elderly. They may be more vulnerable to falls, which can lead to serious injury or death.
- Vision problems - Did you know that a decreased vision can lead to falls? It's true, as research has found that some people with vision problems are more likely to fall. Vision problems may cause pain and if someone’s vision is bad enough it could lead them to fall. A study done by the University of Miami School of Medicine in partnership with the National Eye Institute found out that people who have limited or no light perception were four times more likely to have fallen than those with good visual acuity.
- Pre-existing medical and health conditions - A study conducted by the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation revealed that a higher percentage of patients with malignancies, cancer treatments, or recent surgery are susceptible to falls.
After one fall, sadly, patients develop a fear of falling again and start to limit themselves from doing more activities. This may cause weakened muscles due to the decrease in physical activity.
How to assess your home with environmental hazards that cause falls?
Do you have a home with environmental hazards that could cause falls? Falls in the home are one of the leading causes of injury and death for older adults.
Many factors contribute to falling, such as age-related changes in balance and vision, chronic medical conditions, medication side effects, or other environmental hazards around the house. In this blog post we will go over some steps to assess your own home for potential dangers.
It would be great to assess your own place and look around for environmental hazards that lead to falling with your family. Take note of the few recommendations below:
- Keep pathways and hallways clear
- Make sure handrails are secure on both sides of your staircase
- Keep items that are frequently used within easy reach
- Install grab bars near the bathing and toilet area
- Use the non-slip mats in the bathroom and bathing area
- Place rubber mats in the kitchen area
In what ways can chiropractic care be of help?
In the US, falls are one of the leading causes of injury and death for adults over 65. Falls can lead to serious injuries such as fractures or head injury. They also often result in a stay at a nursing home or rehabilitation center. Ensuring that you are kept safe and healthy is important, especially if you're living on your own.
If you encounter an injury from a fall that leads to neck pain, hip pain, or back pain, chiropractic care is there to help. Not only in relieving the pain from falling but also to offer you preventative care measures.
Chiropractic care allows you to keep your soft tissues and joints in working order. These are important, so they remain active and healthy as you age.
Chiropractic care can give you the confidence to regain your activeness and mobility. It can help patients heal by providing nutritional advice that fuels their body.
Chiropractic care can help you by giving you effective recommendations on exercises and lifestyle changes that not only offer a sense of balance, flexibility, and muscle strength but also life balance.
Improving muscle strength in your legs and core area is one best way to lessen the risk of falling. Do this by doing exercises like jogging, dancing, yoga, walking, and a lot more that encourage muscle strength, even without the use of special equipment.
With these guidelines and treatments, both the patient and the health care professional can ensure a full and healthy lifestyle.