Falls can be scary business, especially when you consider the following statistics; each year, more than one-third of Americans over the age of 65 suffer a fall, resulting in roughly 13,700 deaths. Falls can also result in hip fractures– a common injury when you are older and one that usually requires surgical repair, replacement and intensive physical therapy.
Seniors have a higher risk of falling and suffering from a hip fracture because they often have illnesses and take medications that can impair their balance, vision, or strength. Medications can also reduce blood pressure levels, preventing enough blood from getting to the brain and causing dizziness. Older populations are also more susceptible to osteoporosis, a condition that causes loss of bone mass and makes them more likely to suffer a hip fracture if they do fall.
A hip fracture is not something you can ignore. Signs of a fractured hip include inability to move after a fall, severe pain in your hip or groin and inability to put weight on your leg on the side of your injured hip. It’s also important to remember that after any significant fall, seniors should check in with their primary care physician.
With such significant risk factors present for hip fractures, consider the following tips to prevent falls:
- If you take blood pressure medication, ask your doctor if you can take it between meals to avoid a large drop in blood pressure after eating.
- Take prescribed medications as ordered by your physician, and be careful of interactions with other drugs.
- Have your eyes and ears examined annually.
- Take safety precautions in your home, including removing scatter rugs, taping down electrical and telephone cords, installing grab bars in bathrooms, and keeping your home well lit.