Falls can have serious consequences for the elderly and should not be taken lightly. Falls can result in injuries such as bruises, sprains, fractures, brain hemorrhage, or even death. According to statistics, if an elderly person suffers a hip fracture from a fall, the risk of death within a year is 20%, while 30% become permanently disabled, 40% cannot walk independently, and 80% cannot perform daily activities such as shopping, cooking, or bathing. Hence, we should not underestimate the falls’ consequences.
Falls are often a turning point in an elderly person’s health, as their recovery ability is weaker than that of younger people. Prolonged bed rest can accelerate organ degeneration, leading to worse physical condition than before the fall. Furthermore, the fear of falling can cause social isolation and accelerate physical and mental health problems.
Many people underestimate the potential underlying health issues behind falls in elderly individuals. Body function deterioration such as vision, hearing, balance, coordination, cognition, attention, and the musculoskeletal system can increase the risk of falling. Diseases such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic respiratory disease, myopathy, cataracts, and urinary incontinence, as well as medications such as antipsychotics, anesthesia painkillers, antispasmodics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs/sedatives, or taking multiple drugs, can also increase the risk of falling.
Doctors recommend that elderly individuals check for underlying health issues that may increase the risk of falling. Regular health checkups should be conducted from middle age to maintain optimal health. A fall down sensor installation could be a possible solution. After the age of 60, regular vision, bone density, and cardiovascular exams are recommended, and early medical attention is necessary for cataracts, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular problems. It is important to note that male seniors have a higher fatality rate from falls than females, and therefore, they should pay extra attention to fall prevention.