Most Baby Boomers don’t think of themselves as “older adults”. As a result, many don’t think the message of fall prevention is intended for them. If you are healthy and independent, you may not think you are any less physically capable than you were 10 or 15 years ago. However, for older adults, the risk of falling is real and should be taken seriously – the National Council on Aging reports that 1 in 4 Americans who are 65+ years of age will fall each year. In fact, in older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, loss of independence and injury–related deaths.
Falls may affect multiple areas of an older adult’s quality of life. Once a fall happens, the adult may try to reduce the risk of it reoccurring by limiting social or physical activities. This approach can lead to social isolation, which in turn can speed up physical decline and contribute to or worsen existing depression. Mental and physical wellness often go hand in hand: when one area suffers, the other is quick to follow.
So what can be done to prevent falls from happening in the first place? Start by addressing lifestyle changes: get more sleep, limit alcohol consumption, and get regular physical exercise. Take a critical look at your home environment: is there a lot of clutter on floors and stairways, or throw rugs and electrical cords that could be trip hazards? Consult your doctor for recommendations – they may suggest having your vision and hearing tested, as well as checking for things that could cause fainting like low blood sugar or anemia. Finally, if you are at greater risk, consider buying a wearable personal emergency response device with fall detection monitoring, particularly if you live alone. The device will send help once triggered.
If a fall does occur, how can a Life Care Planning law firm help minimize the damage? When you hire a Life Care Planning law firm after a health crisis, we help you and your family recover and take steps to prevent another fall. The combination of an in-home safety assessment, increased client education and awareness, and ongoing care monitoring can be effective at preventing falls from happening again. But remember: the best approach is to recognize the risk and take early steps toward fall prevention.