What Are Common Causes of Falls in Elderly Adults and How Can They Be Prevented?

Falls are a common and serious health risk for elderly individuals and according to the CDC, they’re the leading cause of injury-related death among adults aged 65 or older. Falls in elderly people can lead to significant pain, trauma, and disability, making it imperative that falls be prevented.

7 Common Causes of Falls for the Elderly and How to Prevent Them

When you know what to look out for, falls can often be prevented. So let’s make sure you’re aware of some common causes of falls in elderly adults.

1. Poor Balance and Strength

As adults age, their balance and strength naturally decline due to age-related muscle degeneration, making them more prone to falls.

You can be better prepared to prevent these falls by:

  • Encouraging your elderly loved ones to exercise regularly, focusing on strength and balance exercises.
  • Removing obstacles and creating more open space in their home so that they can better see where they’re going.
  • Applying non-skid tape or rugs on any slick surfaces to give them more traction while walking.

2. Inadequate Lighting

Poorly lit rooms or hallways can cause seniors to trip or stumble on furniture or other barriers they would normally be able to avoid in brighter light.

Falling can be averted by:

  • Making sure there is adequate lighting in all of the rooms and hallways that your elderly loved one will be visiting.
  • Replacing any burnt-out light bulbs immediately.
  • Installing night-lights throughout their home for additional illumination at night.

3. Falls from Heights

Stairs, porches, and other areas with a height differential can be particularly dangerous for elderly individuals. There are ways these kind of falls in elderly folks can be avoided, such as:

  • Placing railings on both sides of the stairs to help them keep their balance.
  • Adding a handrail to any porches or decks they may be using.
  • Installing adequate lighting in stairwells and other high-risk areas so they can see better while walking around. 

4. Tripping Hazards or Uneven Surfaces

Loose rugs, uneven sidewalks or driveways, or other hazards that aren’t easily seen can lead to falls in elderly people due to tripping or stumbling.

You can help your loved ones steer clear of injury by:

  • Making sure all rugs are secure and that they don’t have any loose edges.
  • Repairing any uneven surfaces around the house such as sidewalks or driveways, or adding a non-skid surface to them where possible.
  • Adding extra lighting in uneven areas where you know your elderly loved one will be frequently walking around.

5. Multiple Medications

Some medications may lead to dizziness, vertigo, or drowsiness, putting patients at risk for falls.

Ways that this can be avoided are:

  • Making sure that your elderly loved one is taking all of their medications as prescribed by their doctor.
  • Monitoring any changes in behavior or physical abilities that could indicate a change in medication might be necessary.
  • Replacing old medications with newer, safer alternatives whenever possible.

6. Vision Issues

Poor vision can make it difficult to see obstacles and avoid falls in elderly overall. Luckily, this can be better prevented by:

  • Making sure their vision is checked regularly.
  • Encouraging them to wear their glasses or contacts when necessary.
  • Adding extra lighting to areas of the house that require more visibility.

7. Mental Health Issues

Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and other cognitive impairments can increase the risk of falls due to impaired judgment or decreased physical coordination. Although these can be serious and sometimes even life-threatening falls, they can be prevented by:

  • Incorporating activities and exercises that help to improve their cognitive functioning.
  • Encouraging them to take regular breaks throughout the day, so they don’t tire themselves out too quickly.
  • Making sure their medications are managed correctly so that there’s no adverse interaction between them.

PMHP Has You Covered

If your loved one has experienced an injury due to a fall in a nursing home, PMHP is here to help. Our team of experienced attorneys will help your family receive the compensation they deserve. We understand the severity of injuries that these falls can cause, so contact us as soon as possible.