Contrary to popular belief, falling down is not a normal part of aging. However, it is true that as we age our chances of having a fall increases due to a variety of reasons, including decreased balance and muscle weakness, side effects from medications, or reaching for a low or high area in our home. Unlike young people, seniors’ bodies are unable to withstand or recover as quickly from the trauma of a fall. Sadly, once a fall occurs, the risk of experiencing additional accidents in the future increases. The good news however, is that most falls can be prevented.
Debunking the Top Misconceptions About Falls Concerning Seniors
Knowledge is power – by understanding the misconceptions that surround senior falls, you can better equip yourself to avoid injuries and maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle. Let’s debunk a few of these common myths for you.
Myth #1: If I Am Less Active, I Am Less Likely to Fall.
Staying active as you age is a good thing and should never be reduced simply out of fear. In fact, being active both physically and socially can improve your overall health and wellness. Physical activities help you maintain your range of motion, flexibility, and independence, while emotional connections can improve your mood, cognition, and boost your immune system – all qualities that help prevent falling.
Myth #2: I’m Safest from Falls In My Own Home.
Many assume the most common place for falls to occur is out in public, off a curb or an uneven sidewalk, for example. Believe it or not, half of all senior falls occur within the home. To ensure your home is safe, and to prevent a fall at home, be sure rooms and hallways are well lit, areas are free of clutter, and rugs and cords are secured.
Myth #3: Medications Don’t Increase My Chances of Falling.
Many medications come with side effects that impact balance and increase your risk of falling. For example, some medications can cause sleepiness, fatigue, blurred vision, dizziness, and confusion. Always read the label and instructions on any new medication, and talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any side effects you may experience and how those side effects impact your safety.
Myth #4: Using a Cane or Walker Makes Me Dependent.
In reality, mobility aids help you maintain your independence, the activity level you’re used to, and may allow you to do much more. As we age, our overall senses and reflexes diminish and slow down. Canes and walkers compensate for these changes by helping the brain realize where your body is and where your feet are going. Since many falls happen in the home, consider using a mobility aid while at home first. This allows you to practice in private before using it in public. Still not convinced? Consider less “elderly” mobility aids, like walking sticks or trekking poles which are often used by hikers and athletic walkers.
Myth #5: Minor Falls Aren’t Worth Mentioning.
Many seniors are reluctant to admit having even a minor balance scare as they fear it may lead to a loss of their independence. Being open and honest with loved ones and your medical team about minor mishaps, health worries, anxieties, and insecurities actually makes you stronger. These important conversations will improve your health, keep you in control, and help you maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle.
Myth #6: Falling Is No Big Deal.
This myth is far from true. While a single fall is not always a sign of a major problem, it is something to be mindful of. Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older. They can cause serious injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, head traumas, and more. But while falls can be serious, you should not live your life in fear. Instead, be diligent about maintaining and even improving your health to lower your risk of falls.
Silver Maples Creates and Supports a Positive Aging Experience
A fall or injury can greatly impact your ability to maintain your much desired independence. Quality of life is crucial as you age, and understanding and preventing falls is one way to ensure you enjoy a happy, healthy, engaging lifestyle.
Our knowledgeable and compassionate staff are eager to assist you and your family as changes occur. If you’re interested in learning more about our vibrant senior living community near Ann Arbor, we invite you to come see Silver Maples for yourself and check out the various senior living options we offer.
If you’re still in the research phase and aren’t quite ready to visit, we encourage you to get to know us from afar by visiting our website. There you can view our videos and read personal stories and testimonials shared by residents, their families and our staff. You can even request more information to receive our brochure packet.
Contact us when you’re ready to learn more. We’re eager to discuss options and help you enjoy a lifestyle and support system you and your family will love.