If you are a senior and feel as if you are having a harder time maintaining your balance than you once did, you are not alone. As you age, you become increasingly likely to fall and suffer a serious injury as a result, and there are many reasons why this is the case. Because your risk of falling is likely already higher than that of the general population, seemingly minor environmental hazards, such as slippery floors or sidewalks, pose a more substantial threat to you than others.
Your fall risks become so pronounced as you age, in fact, that fall-related injuries are now the leading cause of senior injuries, deaths and hospital visits. Just what is it about the aging process that places you at higher risk of a slip-and-fall accident?
Older people are prone to a variety of chronic diseases, among them arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, that can enhance one’s risk of falling. Some such conditions that are common among older people can cause side effects that include numbness in the feet, which can make it even more difficult for you to maintain your balance.
Lack of motion
If you are like most older people, you are probably moving around less as you age. When your level of physical activity declines, however, so, too, can your flexibility and muscle mass. A decline in physical activity can also impact coordination and balance, again heightening your risk of a fall.
Use of medication
Many seniors rely on prescription medications for a broad range of reasons, but many such medications, including opioids, antidepressants and certain heart medications, can bring with them dangerous side effects that can lead to imbalance and enhance your fall risk. When seniors take multiple prescription medications at the same time, this can also compound the risk of a fall.
Often, seniors are dealing with more than one of these risk factors when they take a serious fall. If you have concerns about slip-and-fall injuries, consider making efforts to mitigate these risk factors wherever possible.