As an older American, you likely face a more substantial risk of falling and suffering a serious injury than your younger friends and family members, and this may be due predominantly to factors that are outside of your control. As you age, your body changes in numerous ways, and these changes, coupled with environmental or lifestyle factors, can make you increasingly likely to fall and injure yourself.
The National Council on Aging reports that an older adult dies due to fall-related injuries every 19 minutes in America, and many of the falls that ultimately lead to these deaths may have been preventable. While certain environmental hazards, such as wet or slippery floors, bad lighting or cluttered stairs, have the potential to make anyone fall, many seniors have other risk factors affecting them that make them particularly susceptible to falls and injuries.
Fall risks associated with aging
It is quite common for older Americans to decrease their degree of physical fitness as they age, but doing so can have a negative impact on flexibility, balance and strength, all of which are critical when it comes to preventing falls. As an older American, you may also face a heightened fall risk due to failing vision, recent surgery or your use of certain prescription medications, some of which can impact balance and otherwise affect your overall mobility.
Many older Americans also suffer falls in nursing home environments, and those who lack basic mobility skills are at a particularly high risk for such falls. Residents of nursing homes that suffer from understaffing issues may also face a heightened risk of falling due to not having help available when and where they need it.
Falls cause more than 2.8 million injuries serious enough to require emergency room visits every year. When older people fall, it can impact more than just their physical abilities – it can also lead to isolation, decreased socialization and similar life-altering hardships.