By Mary Nara, APRN, FNP-C

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury and death amongst seniors? Over one third of seniors will fall each year. Here are five of the most common factors that lead to falls for seniors.

Balance
The most common reason for falling is the loss of balance. As we get older our coordination and flexibility skills slowly deteriorate.

Vision
Ever heard the term “tired” or “old” eyes? As we get older, less light reaches the retina inside our eye. This is the primary reason why our vision declines as we age.

Medications
Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications may cause seniors to experience negative side effects like dizziness. In addition, the combination of medications and/or prescriptions can lead to other side effects that may cause you to fall.

Environment
Home hazards like throw rugs, clutter and stairs can account for falls.

Chronic Conditions
According to the National Council on Aging, “More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease.” Some of the symptoms of these chronic conditions can increase the risk of falling.

If you’ve experienced a fall, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your medical provider. Make sure to bring all of your medications, either the bottles or a list, including your over the counter medications to all of your medical care appointments.

Although falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, there are ways to prevent falls in the first place. Here are five simple tips to reducing your chances of falling.

Stay Active
Physical activity is key to preventing falls. Simple exercises such as walking, swimming and yoga can improve strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

Switch Shoes
Make sure to wear non-slip shoes that help reduce joint pain and prevents falls.

Remove Home Hazards
Take a look around your home and remove potential tripping hazards. Make sure to keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.

Use Assistive Devices
Simple home projects like hand rails in bathroom can help prevent falls.

Monitor Your Medications
Don’t forget to bring all your medications, either the bottles or a list, including your over the counter medications to all of your medical care appointments. Have your healthcare provider check your medications and go over potential side effects that may cause you to fall.

Sources: https://www.ncoa.org/