The most common causes of falls in the elderly and how to avoid them

Most Common Causes of Falls in the Elderly

As you age, your joints naturally wear out. Your muscles can also start to lose their strength. These and other natural aging consequences mean that older people have a much higher risk of falling. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 25% of older Americans fall every year. There are many reasons that older people are more likely to fall, and there are three common causes of falls in the elderly that are especially likely. Luckily, there are also steps older people can take to avoid these fall causes. 

Three common causes of falls in the elderly 

Almost anyone can fall down. After all, most people have tripped over something or lost their balance and fallen down. However, falls tend to be much more common in older people. Here are three common factors that cause elderly people to fall: 

  1. Medications — Dizziness is one of the most common side effects of many medications. One medical study reports that vertigo or dizziness can be caused by hypertension drugs, antibiotics, antidepressants and anti-inflammatories. This study also reveals that reports of these symptoms made up 5% of the reports to an Italian drug vigilance center in 2012. 
  1. Lower body issues — Issues with the muscles and joints in your lower body can increase the risk of falls. Vitamin D deficiencies can be one reason for muscle weakness in older people. A study of nutrition in people over 70 reveals that 36% of male and 47% of female participants had low vitamin D levels. Additionally, the pain and other symptoms of arthritis can make it harder to balance, and it’s estimated that more than 54 million Americans have some form of arthritis. 
  1. Home hazards — Hazards in the home can make falling easier. Rolled-up rug corners, a grandchild’s toy on the floor, an uneven step on the front porch. All these and more can be enough to make an older person fall. 

How can physical therapists help you avoid common causes of falls in the elderly?

Physical therapists can do a lot to help elderly people avoid common causes of falls. In fact, one medical study reveals that balance therapy can lead to a 37% decrease in fall risk. This study also shows that this type of therapy can reduce the risk of serious injury from a fall by 47%. 

The primary tool therapists use in balance therapy is balance and gait training, and this form of training can be personalized to fit your specific needs. Balance and gait training from our therapy specialists can include techniques like: 

  • Therapeutic exercises
  • Manual therapy
  • Assistance device education
  • Footwear recommendations

Advent Physical Therapy offers balance training to help elderly people avoid falls

Are you elderly and looking for ways to avoid common causes of falls? Our Advent Physical Therapy team is here to help you. We offer complimentary screenings that can pinpoint the specific issues that are increasing your fall risk. Once these have been revealed, our team can build you an individualized therapy plan to address them. 

Don’t wait to start getting our help with your balance issues. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule a complimentary screening.