Falls are the leading cause of injury, both fatal and nonfatal, in older people, and the most common way for a senior to lose their independence.
The statistics are sobering
One in every four senior citizens falls every year in the US.
Every eleven seconds, a senior goes to the emergency room because of a fall.
Every nineteen minutes, a senior dies as the result of a fall.
And yet, many seniors are reluctant to consider the possibility of falling.
If there is a senior in your life, make sure they do not fall prey to one of these 3 dangerous, but common, myths about falling.
1. I’m not at risk of falling because I don’t do anything dangerous.
I just stay in the house.
More than half of all senior falls occur in the house, doing tasks no more dangerous than getting out of a chair or going to the bathroom.
It is important to do a falls risk assessment in the home of every older person. Simple steps such as increasing the lighting, especially in the bathroom and on the way to the bathroom; removing throw rugs; and installing grab bars can dramatically decrease the risk of falling.
2. Getting weaker is normal. There’s nothing to do about it.
What’s lost is lost.
A senior might feel that loss of strength is a natural part of aging. While it’s true that strength generally decreases with age, exercise — particularly exercise that focuses on fall prevention — can help a senior regain the strength, balance, and flexibility they need to prevent a fall.
3. I don’t want to use a cane because I will become dependent on it.
Surprisingly, even when advised by a doctor to use a cane, many seniors refuse. They may be afraid that using a cane will lead them on the path to needing more and more intensive support, like a walker or wheelchair.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If a senior uses a cane when advised to, they are more likely to avoid falling. But if they ignore the suggestion, they become more prone to a fall. And once they fall, they are likely to need much more support than a mere cane.
If your older loved one believes any of these 3 dangerous myths, it is critically important to change their thinking. Doing so can save their independence, and even their life.