As you age, you may notice that your vision and strength, among other attributes, tend to weaken over time. While this is a natural part of the aging process, it can also make you more susceptible to falls. With AgingCare.com reporting that fall-related accidents are responsible for more hospital visits, injuries and deaths among older Americans than any other cause, it is important that you learn to identify fall risk factors so you may learn to avoid them.
As a senior, you tend to be more susceptible to falls than the rest of the general population due to:
Frequent use of prescription medications
If you are like many older Americans, you may rely on one or more prescription medications to maintain your overall health. Some medications, among them sedatives and certain antidepressants, can affect your balance and make you feel as if you have consumed alcohol, which can lead to falls. The risk is sometimes intensified when certain medications are taken in combination with one another.
A decrease in physical activity
If you do not get as much exercise as you once did, this, too, could increase your risk of a slip-and-fall accident. Not getting enough physical activity decreases strength, bone mass and muscle tone, further increasing your chances of an accident.
If you are recovering from certain types of surgery, such as a hip-replacement procedure, you may unintentionally find yourself favoring one side of your body over the other, making you more susceptible to falls. Your overall mobility also decreases after certain surgeries, which also may contribute to more falls.
Many diseases that are common among older populations have a tendency to cause stiffness, weakness, poor grip or cognitive impairment, all of which make you more likely to fall and suffer a serious injury as a result. Alzheimer's disease and arthritis are examples of the types of conditions that may lead to weakness or imbalance.
Hazards, such as wet floors, loose carpeting and so on, are believed to be a factor in about a third of all falls among seniors. Your risk of suffering a slip-and-fall-related injury may also increase due to poor lighting or the absence of proper handrails along stairs.
Staying vigilant while you are at home or out and about can certainly help reduce your chance of a fall, but often, there are factors that contribute to such accidents that are beyond your control. If you suffer a serious injury after falling, consider getting in touch with a lawyer.