Considering that falls are a leading cause of brain injury, it helps to have some awareness of it. Mary Bradshaw, an elderly woman, says that she remembers well the first time that she had fallen. It happened while she visited Costco. She stood near a woman who handed out food samples, and after that, she does not remember much. Bradshaw says that she began screaming, and she scared the other woman. As she lay in her room at the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation, several Costco bosses stood over her.
After falling at Costco, it kept happening. In a single week, Bradshaw fell five different times. Because she fell so many times, she told the paramedic they would soon become best friends. The same people kept picking her up. Bradshaw, a senior in her later 70s, remembers the encounter vividly, but tears start to form after speaking about the frustration with her inability to stand. The last time Bradshaw fell, she hit the bathtub so hard that she fractured a knee and arm.
Why do we fall as we age? According to individuals who work with the elderly, aging affects a person’s sense of balance. The cerebellum in the brain begins to deteriorate, which leads to lost coordination. In addition, seniors have slower reflexes, and they cannot respond as fast on an uneven surface. Poorer eyesight and medication can also lead to increased falls. What can you do to reduce the risk of falling? First, turn on the lights where you see obstacles. If you have an electrical cord or rug that slides, remove it before it leads to an accident. If you have medications that make you drowsy, speak with your doctor about lowering the dosage.
Every year, around 2.5 million people wind up in the emergency room because of a fall. Considering that one out of five falls will cause a serious injury or brain injury, you want to take steps to reduce the risk. If a person experiences a fall, it can make it hard for them to continue with their everyday activities. In the falls that result in a brain injury, these can become more serious if a person had been taking blood thinners at the time. Older people who fall and hit their head should speak with a doctor immediately to ensure they have not suffered a head injury.
Many seniors who have fallen will start to fear falls as a result. That can cause a person to cut back on their activity. However, this fear in itself can sometimes cause it to happen even more. Because of their reduced activity, the person becomes weaker, which will increase the risk of falling. What conditions will lead to increased risk of falling? Researchers have identified numerous factors that lead to a fall. For example, a Vitamin D deficiency can cause more falls. If an individual has issues with walking or balance, this can also cause increased falls. Foot pain or poor shoes can also lead to increased chances of suffering a fall .
Times Free Press
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