Falls Involving the Elderly
The elderly in our community are more prone to falls. This is especially true for elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Statistics prove that a broken hip or broken leg suffered because of a fall can have fatal consequences for these residents. The following are risk factors that increase the likelihood of falls in the elderly:
- Multiple medications; medications taken by nursing home residents often times cause drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness. This places the resident at a higher risk of falls.
- Dementia; dementia is a brain disease that strikes many of our elderly citizens. Sufferers of dementia can be forgetful and become easily confused. This can lead to falls.
- Wandering behavior; this is associated with dementia in many cases. Nursing home or assisted living facility residents who wander may walk outside unsupervised. They can become disoriented and trip or fall due to their confusion.
- Weakness; many nursing home residents suffer from a loss of strength. This can affect balance and make it difficult for elderly residents to walk longer distances.
- Not knowing limitations; sometimes the elderly do not recognize their limitations or they want to maintain their independence. This can lead to trying to do too much on their own.
- Poor balance; nursing home and assisted living facility residents often suffer from balance problems. Walking unsupervised can pose serious risks in these residents and increase their risk of falls.
- History of falls; once an elderly resident of a nursing home falls, they will always be at an increased risk of falls. Appropriate interventions must be taken.
- Inability to control bowel or bladder (incontinence); this can cause nursing home residents to attempt to get out of bed and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Walking through a dark room in the middle of the night is dangerous for anyone, especially the elderly.
- Poor eyesight; nursing home residents with bad vision who try to walk unsupervised can trip or not see where they are going.
Recognizing the risks listed above can help you prevent falls. It is important to prevent falls in nursing home residents and take appropriate precautions before a fall occurs.