Why Do Seniors Fall More Often?

July 2nd, 2014 by John Wilson

Seniors are at a higher risk for falling, even in senior homes.

Assisted living communities provide support for seniors who have fallen.

As we age, changes take place in the body that can affect the way they function. One of the biggest concerns families have regarding elderly loved ones is the high risk of falls. According to the CDC, one in three adults over the age of 65 will fall, causing moderate to severe injuries. In fact, falls are one of the primary reasons aging individuals move into assisted living communities. Understanding why these falls occur can help you take steps to prevent them.

Environmental Hazards

Everyday hazards in the home are one of the most common causes of falls. If an electrical cord stretches across a doorway or hallway, younger individuals can easily step over it without thinking about it. The elderly are more likely to trip over the cord, even when using extreme caution. Area rugs and furniture that are out of place can also pose a risk to aging individuals.

Fainting

Syncope, typically known as fainting outside the medical field, is another common reason for falls among the elderly. This condition can be caused by low blood pressure, medication side effects and other medical conditions. In some cases, it may come on suddenly, leaving an individual feeling disoriented. It also leads to falls individuals can’t remember, which can create serious medical issues.

Dehydration

Most people feel thirsty long before their body suffers from dehydration. As we age, the feelings of thirst can begin to dissipate. Likewise, when elderly individuals live alone instead of in senior housing, they may not drink enough or even eat the right foods to supplement liquid intake. Medications can also contribute to this problem. Unfortunately, when the body is dehydrated, the risk of falls is higher.

Slower Reaction Time

Younger, healthy individuals can more easily react when they begin to fall, bracing themselves to prevent the fall. As the body ages, reaction times can dramatically increase. This means older residents may not be able to stop the same falls. Assisted living communities are designed to protect residents from falls and give them fast access to the help they need if they do experience a fall.

Lack of Balance and Depth Perception

The brain undergoes changes as individuals age. This can lead to problems with balance and depth perception. Vision begins to deteriorate and fluid can build up in the ears. These problems can cause an individual to fall, even when there are no obstacles. Seeing a doctor on a regular basis can identify these problems and help reduce the risk of falling.

While anyone can fall, seniors are more likely than any other adult age group to experience falls. They are also at an increased risk for serious injuries as a result of a fall. Understanding the primary causes of these falls can help prevent them. This is increasingly important if your elderly loved one doesn’t reside in assisted living communities.

If you are looking for senior housing to prevent falls for your loved one, contact us. We can provide a safe environment and emergency assistance for our aging residents.

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