Have you or your aging loved one recently taken a tumble? If so, you are not alone, and if not, be aware – your chances of falling increase as you age. According to a recent study by the Public Health Agency of Canada, roughly 25% of seniors (aged 65 or older) experience a fall each year, and falling is the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among older Canadian. While these numbers might be sobering, they are likely not surprising to seniors who know the perils of falling and live in fear that they could be next.
The reasons seniors are at risk of falling are as vast and varied as the individuals themselves, so needless to say there is no simple solution that can guarantee safe mobility. Below is just a sampling of the possible causes of falls listed in various studies:
While causes of falling may vary, there are plenty of logical and helpful suggestions that are worth reviewing and implementing, especially as you age. The main suggestion is regular exercise. At any age, daily activity such as walking, swimming, yoga or Tai Chi can help keep your body strong and can increase coordination, mobility, balance and even bone density. Other suggestions to prevent falling include:
Taking all of these precautions may not guarantee that you won’t fall, but these measures will significantly improve your odds of staying on your feet. If you still feel at risk of falling, or you are experiencing fear of falling, it would be wise to chat with your doctor or other health care providers for added suggestions and reassurance.
Canadian Fall Prevention Education
Older Adult Falls: Get the Facts (Report on Seniors’ Falls in Canada)
Seniors and Falls from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (PDF)