Falls are a leading cause of injury among the elderly. Here's how to stay safe

Posted at 4:56 PM, Oct 28, 2019

Former president Jimmy Carter is home again after a second fall this month, the latest causing him to fracture his pelvis. Both accidents happened at his home.

Falls are the No. 1 thing that sends older Americans to the ER, according to the National Council on Aging.

Aging is obviously a risk factor. Cluttered or dark living areas are as well.

But there are some fall risks that aren't so obvious. Older people get dehydrated, causing them to become dizzy or faint. And medications interacting with each other can also lead to falls.

Research found antidepressants had the strongest association with increasing falls among the elderly. Some anti-inflammatory and blood pressure drugs are linked with increased fall risks as well. Benzodiazepines are another common medication older people take for sleeping disorders that have been linked to falling.

Visiting Angels is an in-home elderly care service. They do home safety assessments.

They have a nationwide program called Safe and Steady to help families understand what they can do to prevent falls.

The in-home senior care service says most falls happen in the bathroom.

“So it’s making sure there is, again, the floor surfaces are not slippery, mats are affirmed to the floor, grab bars are in the shower adjacent to the toilet and that there’s no sharp corners or surfaces, for example with vanities,” says Scott Holmes with Visiting Angels.

Holmes says one of the best things is for seniors to remain active to improve their balance.