Falling can be traumatic for anyone, but seniors who are already concerned about mobility may feel especially worried that an accident could strip them of their independence permanently. By identifying risk factors, those over the age of 65 may be able to eliminate or reduce threats and approach life more confidently.
According to the National Institutes of Health, some fall hazards are the same for everyone. Anyone might trip over loose carpet or a cord, stumble in a dark hallway, or slip on a wet floor or icy sidewalk. Going up or down stairs without a handrail could also lead to disaster for people of any age. Being aware of surface conditions can often help reduce the possibility for harm from these dangers.
Some of the reasons that older adults may have a higher risk have to do with factors that are common with age, the NIH notes. Changing vision and eye health issues, balance problems, weak muscles and slower reflexes can all contribute to falls.
While medications are often life-savers, and can make day-to-day living more comfortable, as well, they may also increase the chances of a fall. Some drugs can cause blood pressure to drop when a person first stands up. Others cause dizziness, weakness or confusion. Many seniors take more than one prescription, in addition to over-the-counter medicines.
It is important for people to work with their health care providers to monitor their medications and the effects they have to prevent side effects from leading to a fall. Particularly after a fall, a senior should talk to a doctor to ensure that there are no new medical problems that may have led to the accident.