Falls are an increasing concern, particularly for the elderly population, and their caregivers. According to Brooke Salzman, MD, medical director of Jefferson Family Medical Associates in the Philadelphia Senior Center, in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, one in three people older than 65 falls each year. Half of people 80 and older fall each year.
About half of falls cause injuries. They are responsible for 90% of hip fractures and are the leading cause of head injuries. Elderly people are more likely to get hurt when they fall due to their fragile bones.
Fall prevention is critical. Aside from keeping walkways clear and avoiding the use of throw rugs, elderly people should wear shoes or socks with traction. Exercise and physical therapy can also be helpful.
According to Dr. Salzman, there are a number of things that increase the fall risk for older people. A previous fall is one risk along with problems with gait and balance, muscle weakness in legs, vision, feet or footwear, taking too many drugs, age over 80, cognitive impairment, depression and arthritis.
Read the full “Falls risky for elderly, caregivers” story for more information and tips.