Declining strength and mobility can be a serious concern for a lot of seniors, not only because it may threaten independent living, but also it increases the risk of serious injuries sustained from slip and fall accidents.
Seniors living at home, especially those who live alone, may have difficulty getting assistance after a fall accident if they are not able to get to a phone to call for help. Medical alert systems can be extremely helpful in this case. There are also many steps and precautions that can be taken to improve home safety to reduce the chance of falling and getting injured. Persisting injuries can linger after a serious fall accident, so anything that can be done to prevent such a situation is highly recommended.
Why are falls so dangerous for seniors?
Falls are the leading cause of injury for adults over 65 years of age. It estimated that 1 in 3 seniors will experience at least one fall a year after reaching the age of 65. Falls also represent the highest cause of fatal injury and are responsible for a high percentage of hip fractures and serious brain trauma in seniors.
Some statistics about falls pertaining to seniors may be alarming:
- Every 13 seconds in Canada, an elderly person is treated for a fall
- Every 20 minutes, an elderly person dies from a fall
As you can see, falls are an extremely serious concern for seniors. There are also some long-term repercussions and consequences that should be considered.
Long-Term Impact of Falls for Seniors
In many cases, older adults aren’t really too worried about falls until it happens to them. In some circumstances, it is too late by that point and irreparable damage has already been done. Taking steps to improve physical health and home safety can be invaluable to seniors’ wellbeing and independence.
High Risk of Recurrence
A scary thing about falls related to the elderly is the incredibly high prevalence of repeat episodes. Once a senior has sustained an injury from a fall, it is more likely to happen again. Not only is there a risk of reinjury due to frailty, but a fall is more likely to reoccur because of lost confidence.
Falls can have negative psychological effects on seniors, inducing the fear that it will happen again in the future. A fall can leave older adults hesitant and shaky. When you combine that with the decreased physical capacity that comes with age, the risk of a recurring fall can double or even triple.
The most common reason seniors move to live-in care facilities is because of injuries caused by falls. If the injury is particularly severe, this arrangement may be a permanent one.
Even a less serious injury can be highly damaging to a senior’s independence. Fear can lead to social isolation as individuals become more secluded. Staying home and inactive may seem like the safest option, going out when absolutely necessary in order to prevent further injury. This apprehension can lead to anxiety and in some cases even depression.
Even falls that seem fairly mild in nature can result in a trip to the hospital. Seniors are five times more likely to go to the hospital for a fall-related injury than any other reason. Hospital stays are then usually twice as long as those visiting for other issues.
An injury caused by a fall can have a serious impact on older adults. It can also have a considerable effect on family members as well. A fall will frequently leave the victim with diminished mobility. This means help and support is needed to make a full recovery.
A family member will typically step up in such situations to provide the necessary care and assistance. If the injury is severe family caregivers may need to take time off work to assist their loved one in the healing process. Depending on severity, the road to recovery may be a long one. It might not be possible for family members to attend to a loved one for such an extended period of time.
Professional Home Care Assistance
Whether you or a loved one is looking for assistance and support while recovering from injury or could use some help safeguarding your home for optimal fall prevention, there are home care services available to ease the burden.
Professional caregivers can help free the home of trip hazards and risk points, as well as assist with daily tasks and activities to work towards getting back into a regular routine.