Every year, more than one million elderly people are admitted to the emergency room for injuries, many of which are easily preventable. As senior safety is our number one concern, Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati has put together the following list of the most common injuries for which the elderly are at risk and how they can be avoided.
1. Fall-Related Injuries
Falls are by far the leading cause of injuries among the elderly. One out of every 3 seniors aged 65 and older experiences a fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of both nonfatal and fatal injuries among seniors, and 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries that can cause disability or increase the risk of death. Falls can result in a wide range of injuries, including lacerations, sprains, hip fractures, head trauma, and even traumatic brain injuries.
Home modifications can reduce the risk of falls among seniors, including reducing trip hazards, installing grab bars in the bathroom, adding railings to staircases, and improving lighting throughout the home. Seniors should also get regular exercise to improve balance and speak with their doctor to review any prescriptions that may cause dizziness.
Older adults are at a higher risk of bone fractures than younger people. As we age, our bones lose their ability to resist cracks, which can eventually cause breaks. Fifty percent of women and 25 percent of men over the age of 50 will suffer from an age-related fracture at some point. Older adults are also at risk for osteoporosis, or a loss of bone density. Fractures can develop in any bones–particularly the hips, arms, and spine–from any number of causes. While falls are the leading cause of fractures, seniors can also suffer from fractures following a car accident, or even something as simple as twisting while standing.
Seniors can reduce their risk of fractures by getting enough vitamin D and calcium, avoiding excessive drinking and smoking, exercising to improve balance and strengthen bones, and using a walking aid.
3. Elevator-Related Accidents
While elevators are widely viewed as a safer alternative to stairs or escalators, a study published in 2010 found that they are a common site for accidents and injuries among elderly people. Thousands of older Americans end up in the emergency room every year due to an elevator-related injury, most of which are caused by a slip, fall, or trip. Roughly one-third of elevator-related injuries are caused by the door closing on a senior, and about 40 percent of ER admissions for elevator-related injuries were due to hip fractures. The best way for seniors to avoid getting hurt in or near an elevator is to avoid rushing and, if possible, having someone hold the door.
As seniors get older, everyday activities like running errands, cooking, and bathing can become increasingly hazardous. Ensure your senior loved one has the support he or she needs to remain safe day in and day out with help from an in-home caregiver. In addition to the above tasks, our caregivers can also provide transportation, medication reminders, and companionship. Call 513.891.2273 today to schedule your free in-home consultation.