Falling at home is a severe problem for elderly adults. Thousands of seniors are injured in falls each year, and many of these injuries are fatal. The causes of these falls are often preventable, but the consequences can be devastating. Several health risks are associated with elderly adults falling at home, as explained below, and these are just a few of the many reasons why fall prevention is important.
Bones are brittle and can easily break when a senior falls. The most common fractures among elderly adults are hip fractures, which can be highly debilitating. Hip fractures are one of the leading causes of hospitalization and disability in seniors. Other common fractures include wrist fractures, ankle fractures, and spinal fractures.
Fractures will likely require surgery to heal correctly, and the recovery process can be lengthy. Even after healing, a senior may never regain full mobility or function. Also, the risk of falling and fracturing bones again increases with age. Fall prevention measures like home safety modifications are essential for elderly adults to avoid fractures.
2- Head Injuries
Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in adults over 65. A TBI can range from a mild concussion to a more severe brain injury, resulting in long-term disability or even death. Seniors are more susceptible to TBI because the brain shrinks with age, making it more vulnerable to damage.
Head injuries after a fall can also lead to bleeding and swelling of the brain, which can be life-threatening. Internal bleeding can also occur, which may require surgery to correct. These complications can lead to a more extended hospital stay and a higher risk of death.
Falls are also a leading cause of dementia, a progressive decline in cognitive function. Dementia can lead to memory loss, confusion, and difficulty with everyday activities. Falls can trigger a decline in cognitive function by causing head injuries or leading to a loss of independence.
Dementia will most likely occur after a fall if the senior already has some cognitive decline. However, even if the senior has no cognitive decline, a fall can still cause dementia. This is because falling can lead to a loss of independence and depression and social isolation. Both of these can contribute to cognitive decline.
4- Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is another common health problem in seniors, and falls can contribute to this problem. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine, and it can be caused by several things, including weak muscles, nerve damage, and medications.
Falls can cause or worsen urinary incontinence because they can damage the muscles and nerves that control bladder function. In addition, the fear of falling can lead to decreased physical activity, which can also contribute to urinary incontinence. In addition to causing or worsening urinary incontinence, falls can also lead to a loss of independence and a decreased quality of life.
These are just some health risks associated with elderly adults falling at home. Falls can seriously impact a senior’s health, and they can often be prevented. If you are concerned about a loved one falling, talk to their doctor about ways to reduce the risk.