Genesee County Health Department
Better Life Through Better Health
Falls a Serious Health Risk for the Elderly
Falls are a serious health problem for the elderly and can lead to
permanent disability. One out of four elderly people who breaks a hip
dies within six months, while another 25 percent need lifelong care.
One-third of all persons 60 years of age and older suffer falls each
year. Broken hips are one of the most common and serious injuries.
Fractures also occur to the pelvis, ankles, legs, wrists, forearms and
Falling is a risk for the elderly because of poor vision and hearing,
changes in gait and posture, dementia, chronic illness and side effects
of medications. Normal aging results in loss of bone and muscle and the
body doesn’t work at peak performance any longer. Staying in bed to
recover from a fracture can cause the normal aging process to increase.
Most falls occur in the home and can be prevented with changes in
lifestyle and environment.
- Have hearing and vision checked regularly.
- Be knowledgeable about side effects of medications.
- Stand up or get out of bed carefully.
- Exercise to improve strength and tone.
- Clear pathways of clutter and cords. Firmly attach carpets and
rugs to the floor.
- Arrange furniture so it is not an obstacle.
- Install grab bars by the toilet and in the bathtub and shower. Use
a nonskid shower mat.
- Install handrails on both sides of the stairs. Put a strip of
brightly colored tape on the top and bottom step.
- Make sure your home is well lit.
- Arrange items in cabinets so they are easy to reach.
For more information, call the
Genesee County Health Department at 341-7653.