Falling can be a big concern in seniors’ lives, and when asked what the best solution is most receive generic, basic answers. Although the advice given is good, it may not be enough.
New research from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that there have been 3x more deaths in those 75 and older from falls in 2016 than there were in 2000.
Since 2012, the CDC has encouraged physicians to perform fall risk assessments to those patients they see who are older, but research surrounding shows that some physicians may not, in fact, be performing this type of assessment or providing more thorough information about falls and safety. Below are results gathered by the CDC pertaining to physicians taking measures when it comes to falls:
- Only 60% review senior’s medications
- 52% recommend exercise
- 38% refer a vision exam
Physicians are encouraged to talk to their patients about falls because seniors tend to take their doctors’ advice seriously. “It’s very easy for people to look at a list of things that they should be concerned about and think, ‘that doesn’t apply to me. I walk just fine;” said Dorothy Baker who is a scientist at Yale School of Medicine.
If you are someone who fears falling inside and outside the home, the CDC recommends these 3 actions to take:
- Get a fall risk assessment: ask your physician to assess you and be open about your concerns. These assessments evaluate gait, lower-body muscle strength, balance, medication use, problems with their feet, blood pressure when rising from a sitting position, and vision.
- Get a personalized plan: once knowing where you are when it comes to falls from the risk assessment test, take action. Find programs/classes (your doctor should be able to recommend some to you) that focuses on what you need assistance with.
- Be careful during any transitions: if you are recovering from a hospital stay or are starting a new medication, take it slow and be careful.