Strength, sight, reflexes, and mobility naturally decline as you get older. What these attributes have in common is that they all help to either avoid tripping hazards, or recover from a stumble and prevent a fall. Even for healthy individuals, the chances of falling only increase with age.
In fact, falling is a seriously common danger for older adults. According to the CDC, 28% of adults aged 65 and older report falling each year. Additionally, falls are the leading cause of injuries among older adults. Fortunately, you can help prevent yourself or a loved one from falling by addressing risk factors such as:
Eyesight: Impaired vision makes it more difficult to see contrasting edges (like the edge of a step, or uneven terrain) and obstacles underfoot. Annual vision exams and wearing eyeglasses while moving around are important for fall prevention.
Medications: Side effects of medications (and interactions between multiple medications) commonly prescribed to older adults may affect alertness, balance, and blood pressure. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications may increase your risk of falling
Activity level: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance (primarily through inactivity), making it easier to fall. This is one of the reasons why older adults need to stay active and exercise.
Existing health conditions: Tremors, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and other conditions are known to cause weakness in the limbs, cognitive impairment, and mobility issues – all of which can affect a person’s ability to respond and recover from tripping or falling. According to the National Institute on Aging, when seniors take care of their overall health, it lowers their chances of falling.
The conditions of one’s living space combined with any of the issues above can increase the risk of falling. In fact, 60% of falls in older adults happen in their homes. Since a safe living space is such a crucial part of fall prevention for seniors, we created this infographic to help you visualize areas of your home you can make safer for yourself or your loved one.