12/21/2014

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Consumer

Senior falls can be deadly

As we get older, we tend to fall more. For seniors, a fall can be fatal or result in premature death.

"One in three older adults fall every year and between 10 and 30 percent of those falls will result in an injury," said Hilaire Thompson with the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and an associate professor at the UW School of Nursing. "And the more times you fall, the more likely you are to continue to fall."

There are various reasons why seniors fall more: vision problems, lack of  exercise, trip hazards around the house, and sometimes, it's because of the drugs they take that affect their brain and balance.

"A lot of older adults happen to be on certain mediations for heart arrhythmia or for congestive heart failure and some of those medications can also increase the risk of falling," Prof. Thompson said.

That's why she recommends a medication check with your health care provider or pharmacist. That can be very helpful if you're taking a number of powerful drugs for heart disease or blood pressure.

Exercise is one more thing that can prevent falls. And not just cardio, but balance and strength training.

"Tai Chi or programs like enhanced fitness cover both of these aspects and they can increase strength in the muscles and also improved balance," she said.

More Info:

Fall prevention: 6 tips to prevent falls

Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults

Fall Proofing Your Home
 

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