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elderly falls

Will Your Aging Loved One Be the Next One to Fall?

It is not unusual for a new Keeping In Touch Solutions subscriber to be the victim of a recent fall. All of a sudden they get sidelined from a broken bone and their families get more concerned that they are safe at home. So a daily check-in from a Care Caller is the answer to put everyone’s minds at ease.

Why do aging people fall?

 

There are many causes for falls in the elderly and aging population. While accidents and environmental hazards do account for about 31% of falls, there are two other reasons that everyone getting up in their years needs to be aware of and address on a daily basis.

Most often people think the causes are:

  • Clutter on the floor
  • Tripping over cords and curbs
  • Slipping on slippery floors and stumbling on throw rugs

In other words, accidents. And while that is true for many people, sometimes there is an underlying cause that no one thinks about. Let’s take a look at two of those underlying causes:

  1. Strength – It is a natural progression the everyone under goes muscle loss in the aging process. But it often develops into a condition call sarcopenia. WebMD explains it well:

“From the time you are born to around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But at some point in your 30s, you start to lose muscle mass and function…Physically active people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss. Sarcopenia typically happens faster around age 75. But it may also speed up as early as 65 or as late as 80.”

Sarcopenia symptoms include weakness and loss of stamina. Treatments include exercise, specifically resistance training and strength training. Staying active and eating enough is also a key to maintaining strength in the muscles of the body.

  1. Balance – Balance problems for the elderly can be attributed to many factors including problems in the inner ear, upper respiratory infections, heart problems, circulatory system problems, and low blood sugar. Dizziness is a symptom of many conditions and diseases including stroke and diabetes. Another culprit that affects balance is medication. Not taking prescriptions as instructed can result in dizziness, but dizziness can be a side effect of a medication, too. There are different groups of pharmaceuticals that can be ototoxic, which means that they damage the inner ear, causing the user to feel dizzy and off balance. NIH Senior Health says:

Groups of drugs that are more likely to ototoxic include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure drugs (anticonvulsants)
  • Hypertensive (high blood pressure) drugs
  • Sedatives
  • Tranquilizers
  • Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)
  • Aminoglycosides (a type of antibiotic)
  • Diuretics
  • Vasodilators
  • Certain analgesics (painkillers)
  • Certain chemotherapeutics (anti-cancer drugs)

Yoga, Tai Chi and other activities can be your time to build strength and balance.Diet is one way to help manage balance issues as you age. Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can alter the amount of fluid in the body, including in the inner ear. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining your weight, and exercising helps you to maintain control of the center of gravity and balance as you move. Exercise like dancing, yoga, and Tai Chi focus on building balance. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to how you move, stand up and turn around slowly. Avoid crossing your legs when seated.

Strength and balance are fast becoming indicators of longevity and health for the elderly. Speed of walking is also another strong indicator. People in their early 50s have been studied and their level of performance in strength, balance and gait tests is a fairly reliable predictor of early death.

The consequences of falling on the elder population

Not all falls result in broken bones, strokes or death, but a fall can be the first problem that leads you to many, many others. Take steps now, no matter what your age, to maintain – or increase – your levels of strength and balance. Stay active and move. Inactivity is NOT your friend.

Once an elder falls the first time, the likelihood of it happening again is high. Did you know that 30-50% of elders report that fear of another fall results in loss of confidence and self-imposed restriction of activities, thereby increasing the risk of loss of strength and balance even more?

A daily check-in call also provides peace of mind for the elder receiving the call – it means that someone is looking out for them and will know pretty quickly if something has happened. Eat protein, take up Tai Chi or yoga, walk every day and contact Keeping In Touch Solutions to sign up for a call from a real, live, human with a friendly voice who can remind you of what you are achieving!

A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.

Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.

diana beam

I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.

For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.

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