Seniors are at high risk for serious falls
The gradual physical changes of aging add up to increased fall risk for older adults. In fact, the CDC says that people aged 65+ have a greater than 25% chance of falling. And if someone falls once, their chance of falling again doubles, meaning there’s over 50% chance of a second fall. This is serious because falls are a leading cause of lost independence and ability. Seniors often aren’t able to recover fully from the trauma, their overall health declines, and their care needs increase significantly. We explain the top 6 age-related changes that increase senior fall risk, typical fall-related injuries, and share 5 ways to reduce fall risk.
6 age-related changes that increase senior fall risk
1. Decreased strength
Muscle loss starts very early, around age 30. In older adults, less muscle means less strength and weaker bones.
2. Weaker sense of balance
Many body systems work together to keep us standing upright. Age-related changes and medication side effects can make it more difficult for seniors to stay balanced.
3. Declining eyesight
Vision helps us keep our balance and avoid obstacles. As vision worsens, so does the ability to stay upright and clearly see what’s in our path.
4. Loss of flexibility
Age and health conditions make seniors less flexible, especially in hips and ankles. This stiffness increases the likelihood of falling.
5. Decreased endurance
Not being able to endure physical activity like standing or walking for a reasonable amount of time increases fall risk.
6. Declining ability and desire to walk
Continuing to walk will improve strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance for older adults.
However, many seniors become less active and fall into a negative cycle where less activity leads to less strength and balance. That leads to even less activity as their physical abilities keep declining.