Falls can be a serious concern adults. 50% of people over the age of 75 fall each year. Many of those falls cause serious injury--hip, wrist or vertebra fracture--or sometimes death. And falls can rob older adults of their independence.
Fear of falling can actually increase the risk of falls and one fall is actually a risk factor for future falls. Taking "a safe at all cost" approach and cutting back on physical activity leads to loss of strength , reduced muscle tone, balance problems, decline in over all health and often depression- which makes it more likely that the person will fall again.
Common senior conditions that can increase the risk of falls include
(1) Heart disease, stroke, Parkinson's and low blood pressure can cause dizziness, balance problems and fatigue.
(2) Loss of sensation in the feet from diabetes can mean a reduced "sense of place".
(3) Arthritis results in loss of flexibility, and increased difficulty maintaining balance.
(4) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Heart Failure result in breathing difficulties, weakness and fatigue increasing the risk of falls with even slight exertion.
(5) Age-related vision problems such as glaucoma and cataracts decrease visual function thus increase the risk of falling.
(6) Medications can also be a risk factor, particularly sleeping medications, anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drugs, and heart medications.
When you say YES to these questions falls become less likely
(1) Do I exercise regularly?
(2) Has my healthcare provider reviewed my medications?
(3) Have I done a home safety inspection?
(4) Do I take extra care?
(5) Have I discussed my fears with my healthcare provider?
(6) Do I follow a sensible balanced diet?
(7) Do I wear the right shoes?