By the year 2060, there will be roughly 98 million people that are 65 and older living in the United States.
Comparing that number to today’s population, seniors would make up 30% of all citizens.
Given the rise of seniors, it’s becoming increasingly likely that you know someone that’s getting on in age. While getting older usually still means enjoying a high quality of life, there are some unique threats to seniors that don’t typically exist for younger people.
One of the biggest threats is falling.
An elderly fall is more grave than falls that take place in other segments of the population. They carry implications that can be as serious as death.
Below, our team shares reasons why an elderly fall is serious and why you should be proactive in helping the seniors you know to avoid them.
1. Falls Can Be Fatal
The gravest concern when it comes to a senior fall is death.
As people get old, their bones and muscles do not provide the impact support necessary to insulate important organs from damage. This lack of insulation can often make a simple fall the cause of grave internal injuries.
According to a study lamented on by AARP, senior fall deaths have gone up by 30% from 2007 to 2016.
2. An Elderly Fall Often Indicates The Need for Change
When you hear that your loved one has fallen, your first concern should be to deduce whether or not they’re okay and to get them a medical examination to ensure that no injuries took place.
After the initial drama of a senior fall is over, another round of issues begins.
Sure, your loved one did okay with their recent fall, but will their luck hold up next time?
That very real concern now puts you in the position where you need to be proactive and start discussing an adjustment to your loved one’s living situation. Do they need in-home care? Are there other unaddressed issues, such as a need for hearing aids or a stairlift? These are all things you should help your loved one assess.
These questions and their answers can be stressful for both you and the senior you’re trying to impose lifestyle changes on.
3. Falls Can Be Attributed to Serious Diseases
One of the most serious aspects of senior falls are often not the falls themselves but rather the underlying cause of a fall.
Was the fall caused by bad luck? Was it caused by an illness that affects motor functions?
Only a doctor can answer those questions.
It’s important that you convince the senior that suffered from a fall to get a full physical after the incident. Not only will this eliminate the possibility of having suffered silent injuries, but it will also weed out the possibility of diseases like Parkinson’s, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
4. Seniors Have Difficulty Healing Broken Bones
When bones break from falls, in most cases, the answer is to put them in a cast and wait for them to heal. Given senior’s advanced age, that healing process can be a lot slower than usual and sometimes doesn’t take place at all.
There have been numerous cases of broken arms, legs, ribs and other bones in seniors that never healed correctly. In these cases, quality of life may be significantly impaired or extensive surgery is required to rectify the problem.
5. Chronic Fatigue Could Be the Culprit
Exhaustion is a common cause of falls in seniors.
Many seniors spend most of their day in a sedentary position. This lack of movement leads to the weakening of muscles and chronic tiredness that makes it difficult to get up and move around when needed.
To avoid chronic fatigue from setting in, it’s important that seniors do what they can to remain active. Activities as simple as a 10-minute walk every day can do wonders for keeping a body energized.
6. Complications From Surgery Are More Common in Elderly
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America. Many of these errors take place given the steep complications that surgery present.
Combine those facts with the reality that surgery on seniors is particularly difficult and you begin to understand why so many seniors end up passing away from surgical complications.
As we mentioned in point 4, senior falls often need surgical intervention to help aid healing. That surgical intervention could present serious risks.
7. Many Falls Go Unreported
As many as 80% of falls that occur at home among seniors go unreported. This under-reporting takes place for a variety of reasons including fear of burdening loved ones, fear of losing independence, and the assumption that no serious injuries were sustained.
Many seniors who fall incur injuries that aren’t immediately recognizable. These injuries might be microfractures, internal bleeding or a number of other complications.
It’s imperative that you make the importance of reporting falls clear to your loved one even if they think they’re okay.
Take the time to learn more about slip and fall cases and their prevalence to fully appreciate the risk.
Wrapping Up Why We Should Be Concerned When the Elderly Fall
There are a number of implications that accompany an elderly fall. We hope that our outlining some of the more serious ones have made you aware of why it’s important to stay informed about any mobility issues elderly people you know may be experiencing.
Would you like additional information on how to best manage your relationship with an elderly loved one and how to promote good health? If yes, we recommend reading more of our content we have available for you on My Zeo today.