The statistics tell a cautionary tale:
One in every four senior citizens falls every year in the US.
Every eleven seconds, a senior goes to the emergency room because of a fall.
Every nineteen minutes, a senior dies as the result of a fall.
Despite the clear danger, many seniors are reluctant to consider the possibility that they might fall.
If there is a senior in your life, make sure they do not believe any of these dangerous but common myths about falling.
I’m not a fall risk because I don’t do anything dangerous. I just stay at home.
More than half of all senior falls occur at home, doing tasks no more dangerous than getting up from a chair or going to the bathroom.
It is important to perform home risk assessments for in the house of every older person. At Beacon of LIFE, a government-approved PACE program in Oceanport, NJ, that enables frail seniors to stay in their homes rather than entering a nursing home, we perform regular fall assessments in the homes of each of our clients. We then take whatever steps are required to eliminate risks, such as increasing the lighting, especially in the bathroom and on the way to the bathroom; removing throw rugs; and installing grab bars wherever they may be needed.
Getting weaker is normal. I should expect to fall every once in a while.
A senior might feel that loss of strength is a natural part of aging. While it’s true that strength usually decreases with age, exercise — particularly exercise that focuses on fall prevention — can help a senior regain the strength, balance, and flexibility they need to prevent a fall. At Beacon of LIFE, we encourage our clients to partake of as many physical activity activities as they are able to. We offer yoga, chair exercises, even line dancing, to strengthen muscle and enhance balance.
Using a cane will make me dependent on it.
Surprisingly, many seniors refuse mobility assistance, even when their doctors recommend it. They may be afraid that using a cane will make them dependent on assistance when walking, and may lead them down the path to needing further assistance, such as a walker or wheelchair.
Their concern is understandable, but misplaced. If a senior uses a cane when advised to, they are more likely to avoid falling. Ignoring such advice makes them more prone to a fall. And it is falling — not using a cane — that will put them at risk of needing more support.
If a senior in your life believes any of these 3 dangerous myths, it is vital that you change their thinking. Doing so can save their independence, and even their life.
Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
We provide a variety of services, including primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory / X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.
Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.