Think about the last time you slipped on a patch of ice. Maybe you fell and hit your shoulder, or your tailbone, or even your head. It startled you, pain shot through your body, and for a moment you wondered if you were seriously injured. Hopefully you weren’t.
Now imagine that happening at the age of 70, 80, or older.
Falling happens. Accidents happen. Injuries happen. But contrary to popular belief, falling down is not a “normal” part of aging. The occasional fall should never be accepted as something that’s bound to happen. Preventing falls in the elderly happens through education and action.
Understanding Common Myths about Falling
Falling as “normal” is just one myth many people have in their minds about seniors and falls: that it’s always going to happen. Let’s review other myths and set the record straight.
- You’re better off staying home and limiting your activity if you’re worried about falling.
False. Staying active and mobile is actually one of the best ways to prevent falling, because mobility helps keep your bones, muscles, and joints limber. People who don’t get up and move often are more likely to have difficulty and potentially fall when they do have to move. Weakness promotes falls, and inactivity promotes weakness.
- Medication has no impact on your chances of falling.
False. Side effects associated with some common medications can play a huge role on a person’s chances of falling. For example, some medicines cause drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness, and confusion – all of which can lead to a person falling down. Always read your medication’s label and understand any risks associated with it. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
- Using a cane or walker makes you dependent, so it’s better to tough it out and risk falling.
False. What do you think makes you more dependent: using a cane or walker, or being bedridden because of a fractured hip after falling down? You are able to do much more and get around much better with a little assistance compared to not getting around at all. Don’t take the risk of falling and seriously injuring yourself. Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people over age 65.
- Falls aren’t a big deal.
False. This one should be obvious by now. Falls are much more dangerous for seniors than they are for younger people, but they’re dangerous all around. Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments every year, and 800,000 of those result in hospital admissions. Falls often result in broken bones, concussions, sprains, strains, and other serious health problems. Falls can also impact quality of life by creating fear and anxiety.
- Talking to family about your concerns with falling makes you weak.
False. Bringing up this topic to your loved ones makes you proactive, strong, and brave. You are taking charge of your health and well-being. You are promoting a higher quality of life for yourself. Every person deserves that. Never feel embarrassed to talk to friends, family, or your doctor about your concerns with falling. It’s better to lay it all on the table so you can work together on a solution.
Immanuel Lutheran Communities offers a variety of health services when and where our residents need them, including assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and memory care. No matter where you are in life, we’ll be here with professionalism and kindness when you need us. Learn more about the senior living lifestyle at Immanuel Lutheran Communities today.