According to statistics falls remain the leading cause of injuries and death in those adults over the age of 65. To help reduce the occurrence of falls, medical experts often talk about ways a senior adult can avoid falls in and outside of their home. However, many misconceptions related to falls in seniors remain. Here are some of the most common myths:
MYTH – Falls are a normal part of aging.
FACT – Most falls can be prevented – you have the power to reduce the risk. Strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.
MYTH – Falling happens to other people. Not me.
FACT – You may think it “won’t happen to me,” but the truth is that 1 in 3 older adults—about 12 million—fall every year in the U.S.
MYTH – If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.
FACT – Performing physical activities will actually help you stay independent, as your strength and range of motion benefit from remaining active. Social activities are also good for your overall health.
MYTH – As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling.
FACT – Over half of all falls take place at home. Inspect your home for fall risks. Fix simple but serious hazards such as clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting. Make simple home modifications, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.
MYTH – Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.
FACT – Medications affect people in many different ways and can sometimes make you dizzy or sleepy. Be careful when starting a new medication. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects or interactions of your medications.
MYTH – I don’t need to get my vision checked every year.
FACT – Aging is associated with some forms of vision loss that increase risk of falling and injury. People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update your eyeglasses.
MYTH – Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.
FACT – Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve their mobility. However, make sure you use these devices safely. Have a physical therapist fit the walker or cane to you and instruct you on its proper use.
Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services can help you or a loved one prevent falls through in-home assessments, physical therapy, home safety demonstrations and public seminars. Contact us to learn more.