Seniors need to improve homes, visit doctors to avoid falls


February 6, 2012

Seniors need to improve homes, visit doctors to avoid fallsFalling among the senior population can cause serious injuries for older adults and reduce their mobility. Falls have become so dangerous that they are now considered the fifth leading cause of death among older adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. David Dorsey, a family medicine physician, recently expressed his concern for seniors aging in place, St. Louis Today reports.

According to Dorsey less than half of seniors who have taken a tumble will go to see their doctors afterward, though he strongly encourages them to go even if they don't feel injured.

"Doctors can help determine the underlying cause of the fall and how to prevent future falls," Dorsey told the publication. "There are simple ways to prevent falls from happening in the home."

Dorsey suggests that seniors who have already fallen or who might be fearful of falling should make an effort to improve their living space. Removing hazards such as electrical cords and area rugs or installing grab-bars for the shower can work to reduce a person's chance of falling. Adding more lighting, using a cane or walker to get from room to room or getting a medical alert might also be beneficial.

Tools like a walker or a senior alert might give the elderly more confidence to keep up with their daily activities as they may provide some security and decrease pent up anxiety associated with the risk of falling.