As people grow older, the likelihood of falls increases. While some are minor incidences, more severe falls can lead to serious, if not fatal, injuries among the senior population. An average of 30,000 older adults dies from falls every year.
The pandemic forced many in the elderly population to stay at home or in a care facility to avoid exposure to COVID-19. Many were bedridden while they recovered from the virus. Outdoor walks and other forms of exercise were limited, if not eliminated, due to various health concerns. Ironically, the problem surrounding lack of activity led to abnormally excessive and alarming muscle weakness.
How falls happen and how they can be prevented
Falls can still happen, regardless of a worldwide health crisis. Medication and lack of hydration can become factors. Aging brings diminishing senses that could result in a severe fall. Even the fear of falling or suffering a recent fall can discourage movement, activity, and independence, making a bad situation worse.
Avoiding falls can be achieved by taking simple and careful literal and figurative “steps:”
- Know your surroundings, particularly when it comes to poor lighting and obstacles that may be underfoot, such as rugs or small pets.
- According to Footwear Science, shoes can make a difference if they fit well, have low heels, and nonslip soles; slippers or bare feet can double the risk of a fall.
- Exercise that focuses on strengthening muscles, particularly calves, can help maintain balance. Classes are available online or in person. Help from a physical therapist or trainer can maintain safe walking.
- Talk to a doctor regarding prescription med side effects and drug interactions following any dizziness and instances of low blood pressure. The BMC Public Health Journal revealed that seniors prescribed more than four prescription drugs made up 25 percent of serious falls.
Not all falls are the result of dizziness, lack of strength, or strong medications. Those that occur in nursing homes are often the result of negligent staff or poor facility management. If a loved one has suffered a fall, the insight of an attorney can help bring clarity to any legal steps that need to be taken.