The My Falls-Free Plan for Elderly
The My Falls-Free Plan is a checklist/document used to help evaluate the fall risk level of a person. It was produced by the Washington State Department of Health, Injury & Violence Prevention Program.
Is Falling Really a Problem?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease and Control Prevention) one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. One Fall can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable.
Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, or head traumas. These injuries can make it hard to get around or live independently, and increase the risk of early death.
Who is at Risk?
- People age 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.
- Rates of fall-related fractures among older women are more than twice those for men.
- Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls.15 In 2010, there were 258,000 hip fractures and the rate for women was almost twice the rate for men.
- White women have significantly higher hip fracture rates than black women.
Many people who fall, even if they are not injured, develop a fear of falling. This fear may cause them to limit their activities, which leads to reduced mobility and loss of physical fitness, and in turn increases their actual risk of falling.
Can We Prevent Falls?
Use the falls-Free Plan can definitely help. Staying independent and active can also help older persons remain healthy and reduce their chances of falling. To accomplish this seniors should;
- Exercise regularly.
- Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines to identify medicines that may cause side effects.
- Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
- Make their homes safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of stairways, and improving the lighting in their homes.
As we grow older, gradual health changes and some medications can cause falls, but many falls can be prevented. Use the My Falls-Free Plan to learn what to do to stay active, independent and falls free.