Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among older adults, with one in four people over the age of 65 experiencing a fall each year. While falls are often thought of as an inevitable part of aging, there are many myths surrounding falls that can prevent older adults from taking steps to prevent them. Here, we will debunk some of these myths and their realities in life.
Myth 1: Falls are a normal part of aging
Reality: Falls are not a normal part of aging and can often be prevented with proper attention and care. Many older adults may be hesitant to discuss their fear of falling with their healthcare provider, but it is essential to bring up this concern and ask for help.
Myth 2: Falling is not a serious problem
Reality: Falls can have serious consequences, including fractures, head injuries, and even death. In fact, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults.
Myth 3: Only frail or unsteady older adults fall
Reality: Anyone can fall, regardless of age or physical condition. Even younger, healthy adults can experience a fall due to tripping or slipping. However, certain factors can increase the risk of falling for older adults, including medication side effects, vision problems, and muscle weakness.
Myth 4: Fall prevention is only necessary for those with a history of falls
Reality: While a history of falls is undoubtedly a risk factor, it is not the only one. Older adults with vision problems, taking multiple medications, or difficulty walking or standing may also be at increased risk of falling. Fall prevention strategies can benefit anyone who is at risk of falling, not just those who have already experienced a fall.
Myth 5: It’s not worth the effort to prevent falls because they are bound to happen eventually
Reality: While it is true that falls cannot be eliminated entirely, there are many strategies that can significantly reduce the risk of falling. By taking steps to prevent falls, older adults can maintain their independence and improve their quality of life.
Myth 6: Older adults who fall will never be able to recover fully
Reality: Even though falls can have serious consequences, it is possible for older adults to fully recover from a fall with the proper treatment and support. Rehabilitation, including occupational therapy, can help older adults regain their strength and mobility following a fall.
Myth 7: It’s not necessary to tell anyone about a fall that didn’t result in injury
Reality: Even falls that do not result in injury can be a warning sign of increased risk. It is important to report all falls to a healthcare provider, as they can assess the underlying cause and provide recommendations for fall prevention.
If you are concerned about a loved one’s risk of falling, consider reaching out to us at ECQ Occupational Therapy to request an evaluation in the comfort of your home by an occupational therapist. Our occupational therapist can provide personalized recommendations and strategies to help your loved one prevent falls and stay safe at home. So reach out to us today to get personalized advice and treatments.