Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Fall Prevention

Taking the steps necessary to prevent falls are among the most important things to do for seniors. Unfortunately, nearly a third of all seniors will experience a fall. In the majority of those cases, if a senior fractures a bone from a serious fall, it is either fatal or significantly shortens his or her life (page 6). The good news, thankfully, is the vast majority of falls are completely preventable!

National Fall Prevention Day happens tomorrow, September 22nd—appropriately during the Fall. Organizations from coast to coast are reaching out with helpful information for seniors and their families to help stave off slips and tumbles.

Many of the most common causes of falls are well known, and the Jewish Home has been sharing the recommended ways to stay upright for a number of years. (The hyperlinked story is from December 2010.) From fall-proofing a senior's home to simply wearing sturdier shoes, the ways to prevent these catastrophic spills are relatively easy to do. Also important is physical fitness. Taking the time to keep leg, core, and balance muscles stimulated and healthy will go a long way to keeping seniors on their feet.

Recently, McKnight's, a leading long-term care and senior living magazine, published an interesting article about a new study on fall prevention. Researchers from UCLA found that among "Medicare beneficiaries [i.e., seniors] who had their cataracts removed, 16% fewer had hip fractures within the first year of surgery than those who did not."

And that percentage climbs the older the sample group gets. "Study participants between the ages of 80 and 84 experienced the biggest benefit of the surgery, with a 28% reduced risk of fractures."

So take a moment tomorrow to assess your surroundings and the living situations of the seniors you care about. A couple of simple changes could save lives.

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