Fall prevention for seniors has grown in importance over the last decade, which perhaps isn’t so surprising given the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. But I’m noticing this more with my grandmother, who’s almost 85, and approaching the age where risk increases exponentially. She’s already broken her wrist after falling while reaching for something in a closet, which makes her much more likely to break something more serious in the future.
If you have a loved one who’s approaching this age bracket, I’d suggest you read through this and help them complete these 4 easy steps in order to reduce their risk of falling and related injuries.
Balance and fall prevention for older adults
Injury and even death from falls is an unfortunate trend for older adults. According to USA Today, between 1993 and 2003, “death rates from falls rose 55% among people over age 65. Falls accounted for 13,700 deaths and landed 1.8 million older adults in emergency rooms.” As Baby Boomers approach their 70s, they need to consider how to improve their balance and reduce their chances of falling.
According to Maureen Gaynor, a physical therapist at Physiquality member Comprehensive Physical Therapy Center in Michigan, “Falls are the sixth leading cause of death in people over 65 years of age and the leading cause of death in women over 85.” She also points out that while the rates of falls are highest past the age of 85, the rates increase with age regardless of gender or ethnicity. Everyone is at risk as they age.
That said, several factors can increase one’s risk of falling. Nicole Puzio, a physical therapist at Conshohocken Physical Therapy, a Physiquality network clinic in Pennsylvania, notes that conditions like diabetes or Parkinson’s disease can contribute to one’s risk, as well as poor vision. Maureen also includes such disorders as vertigo, neuropathy, postural hypotension, osteoporosis and cognitive impairments on that list.