Falls can be worrisome for people of all ages, but it is an especially frightening experience when an elderly loved one falls. We worry because we know that falls by a senior can lead to injuries, hospitalization, long-term care, and sometimes even more serious consequences. Falls also impact a seniors’ quality of life even after they have recovered because of the fear of falling again. This can be an isolating time for seniors as they might limit their physical and social activities as a means of protecting themselves from other falls.
Factors that put seniors at risk of falls include health conditions, medications or combination of certain medications, poor balance, sensory anomalies, inadequate nutrition, social isolation, as well as factors related to their environment.[i]
But falls are preventable. November is a month dedicated to Fall Prevention[ii].
Here are some tips that medical organizations[iii] [iv] [v]suggest to prevent falls by seniors:
- Take the time to exercise to increase your physical activity, mobility and balance.
- Take your time. Avoid rushing when you are on the go.
- Hold on to hand rails whenever possible.
- Carry your bag on your shoulder rather than in your hand. This allows you to keep your hands free in case you need to balance yourself.
- Follow the American and Canadian guidelines for calcium and vitamin D: [vi] [vii]
- Adults 51 to 70 years of age, the daily dietary recommended allowance is 1000 mg for men and 1200 mg for women.
- After the age of 71, 1200 mg is recommended for both men and women.
- Vitamin D:
- From childhood to 70 years old, 600 IU (or 15 mcg) is the daily recommended dietary allowance.
- After the age of 71, this increases to 800 IU (or 20 mcg) per day.
- Get your eyesight checked regularly and update your eyeglasses as needed.
- Place lights in your hallways and stairs and keep a flashlight by the side of your bed.
- Discuss your medications with your pharmacist. Some medications either alone or in combination with other may make you dizzy.
- When you do not feel comfortable going out, find community services that can assist you while you stay at home, such as grocery stores and pharmacies that deliver to your house.
- Check your home for tripping hazards. Ask for help to tidy up if you need to remove objects that may cause you to slip or trip while walking around.
- Ask for help if you are worried that you might fall.
You might also be interested in reading the following articles:
Vitamin D and the Impact on Bone Health of Seniors.
How Does Vitamin D Help Bone Health
Natalie Bourré is a Ddrops Guest Blogger. She is a mom of 4 young children, health writer and social media consultant who is passionate about promoting good health for the entire family. She shares scientific and medical information with patients in an easy to understand fashion.
[i] Public Health Agency of Canada. Seniors’ Falls in Canada: Second Report. 2014-04-10. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/aging-seniors/publications/publications-general-public/seniors-falls-canada-second-report.html
[ii] Fall Prevention Month. 2017. http://fallpreventionmonth.ca/
[iii] Government of Canada. Public Health Agency of Canada. How to Lower Your Fall Risk. 2017.
[iv] BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit. Seniors’ Fall Prevention Awareness Month.
[v] NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. Preventing Falls and Related Fractures. 2015-04.
[vi] Health Canada. Vitamin D and Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes. 2012-03-22.
[vii] NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. Preventing Falls and Related Fractures. 2015-04.