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What Causes Falls and How To Prevent Them

Updated: Oct 18, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that in people 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries. They happen each year to more than 25% of that demographic, and in 2015, cost the healthcare system in the United States upwards of $50 billion.

Falls can occur due to a variety of causes. Medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, arthritis, vision loss, and side effects of medications, can make it more likely to accidentally fall, as well as personal risk factors, such as age, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol intake, and a poor diet. Falls are many times also the result of hazards like walking on stairs, slippery surfaces, and uneven pavement.

Healthy lifestyle choices can help to reduce the risk of falling. These include: getting an annual eye examination, maintaining a diet rich with calcium and Vitamin D, participating in an exercise program that slows progression of osteoporosis, and wearing properly fitted shoes with nonskid soles.

A fall can be a traumatic experience that significantly impacts the quality of life for an elderly person. Luckily, they can be avoided with some home modifications and lifestyle choices. Follow these fall-proof recommendations for your home by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Written by Setareh Vatan