Aging & Health A to Z
Lifestyle & Management
Part of your standard care is receiving a regular review of your progress in your falls prevention program. Make sure that your healthcare provider checks your gait, balance, strength, and coordination as part of your regular check-ups. Your provider must also keep track of how you respond to any changes in medicines or in dosages.
Complications of Falls
Falls are associated with serious injuries, especially among older people. Therefore, it is extremely important to have yourself evaluated and go through a falls prevention program if necessary. It is extremely common for older people to have fractures and brain injuries that result from falls. A head injury can also cause bleeding in the brain, a potentially fatal complication. Many fractures, like hip fractures, are a frequent consequence of a fall in older people. These fractures are linked to loss of independence, admission to a nursing home, and, too often, death. Prevention is the best medicine for avoiding this outcome.
Managing Someone at Risk of a Fall: Get Help from a Geriatrics Healthcare Professional
If you or someone you’re caring for has a high risk of falling, consider seeing a geriatrician or other geriatrics healthcare professional. These providers have advanced training in the care of older adults, including those with multiple healthcare needs. Geriatrics healthcare professionals also have advanced training in caring for older people with balance problems and other health problems related to falling.
Prevention While in the Hospital
Immobility is the state of not moving or being active. Being immobile during a hospital stay quickly reduces your strength, which in turn leads to difficulty walking. It is important to avoid immobility. You may be able to walk but unable to do so safely and independently. If that is the case, ask hospital staff to assist you so that you can walk several times daily. Formal physical therapy can provide additional benefits. And if you wear eyeglasses or a hearing aid, make sure you have them with you while you are in the hospital. That too will reduce your risk of falling.
Updated: October 2017
Posted: March 2012