Just a few seconds is all it takes to go from enjoying independence in
one’s golden years to struggling with long-term disabilities. Seniors
are at a high risk of life-changing injuries caused by falls, but there
are ways to be proactive about this serious health issue. Here at
Regional Medical Center of San Jose, our emergency care physicians encourage families to learn more about
the risk of falls.
Know the Risks
Many factors can contribute to a senior’s increased risk of bone
fractures, head trauma, and other fall-related injuries. With age, a person
is more likely to suffer from impaired coordination and balance. Impaired
eyesight can inhibit a person’s ability to detect hazardous conditions.
Additionally, many medications can cause drowsiness and dizziness—both
of which increase the likelihood of a fall.
Make Home Safer
The risk of falling does not automatically mean that a senior should consider
moving to a long-term care facility. Many seniors prefer to preserve their
independence for as long as possible. Making some simple modifications
to the home can help. These include the following:
- Installation of sturdy handrails
- Placement of grab bars in the tub and by the toilet
- Improved lighting in all interior and exterior areas
- Removal of clutter, loose rugs, and loose cables from the floor
In addition, seniors can
reduce the risk of a fall by having their vision checked annually. Limiting or avoiding alcohol,
informing a doctor about side effects of medications, and rising slowly
from a seated position are all smart steps to take. Doctors often recommend
that seniors stay physically active as well. Physical therapy, tai chi,
and similar exercises can improve balance, coordination, and strength.
Wearing non-slip footwear and using a cane or a walker can help seniors
move around with confidence.
Seek Treatment Promptly
If a fall does occur, it’s a good idea to inform the doctor promptly,
even if serious injuries aren’t evident. Many seniors neglect to
let their doctors know about falls, which means that compression fractures,
concussions, and similar injuries may go undetected.
Emergency care is just one of the many high-quality medical services you’ll find
at Regional Medical Center of San Jose. Our community hospital is a leading
provider of orthopedic procedures, rehabilitative support, stroke care,
and robotic surgery. If you live in the San Jose area and would like a
referral to a physician at our community hospital, you can call a registered
nurse at (888) 762-8881.