Age In Place

Fall Prevention In the Elderly

For young people, balance issues are just interpreted as clumsiness and are usually just a minor inconvenience.  For seniors, they can be debilitating and even life-threatening.  Even a minor fall can leave older people bedridden and depressed and increase the chances of death from illnesses and other unrelated causes, to fall prevention in the elderly is an important topic.

Don’t risk a fall! Click here to learn about fall prevention in the elderly.

What Is a Balance Disorder?

A balance disorder is usually characterized by unsteadiness in performing daily tasks like standing up, climbing stairs and walking.  It can also be accompanied by a feeling of vertigo or a sensation that the room around you is spinning.  Depending on the issues, you may be unsteady occasionally or have trouble more often while standing up or trying to walk.


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In a study involving 92 aged care residents, supplementation with a multivitamin was found to significantly improve nutritional status and bone health and was associated with a reduction in falls. The results of this study suggest that multivitamin supplementation among the elderly may not only help to improve nutritional status, including vitamin D status but may also have a positive impact on bone density and reduce the risk of falls, thereby reducing the risk of fractures.

Up to ten percent of people over 65 have some sort of balance problem that contributes to fall prevention in the elderly, but there are several issues that can affect balance.  Some of these problems are just a normal part of aging, while others can be an indicator of a more serious health concern.  Here are some of the most common causes of balance issues in seniors.

Causes of Falls In the Elderly

Inner Ear Problems

This is the most common cause of balance issues in seniors and is likely if you regularly experience vertigo, especially when tilting your head or changing body positions.  They can be caused by swelling or infection inside the inner ear, or calcium stones that form and break loose.  Most of these disorders are benign and treatable, but some can lead to hearing loss and other issues, so you should get your hearing checked and keep your doctor informed to be sure.

Medication

If your parent has recently started taking a new medicine, it may be the cause of their balance problems.  Ask their doctor if balance problems are associated with medicine.  They may be able to change the prescription to something without this side effect.  Medications that are known to commonly cause dizziness are blood pressure medications and certain antibiotics.

Heart Problems

If the heart isn’t pumping blood properly, you can have balance issues because not enough blood is making it to the brain.  This is one reason it is so important not to ignore balance issues, because they may indicate a serious problem.

Poor Circulation

We already know you can experience balance issues if you don’t get enough blood to your brain, but heart issues aren’t the only cause of this problem.  Poor circulation can also contribute to fall prevention in the elderly. Your doctor can recommend medication or other treatments to improve blood flow.

Fall Prevention Strategies

If you or your parent has had balance problems, you should contact your doctor to let them know about the symptoms.  Treatment will vary depending on the cause of the balance issue, but it will often include exercises and stretches to strengthen muscles and improve balance.  While these may not solve the root cause of the problem, they will help you manage it better and reduce the risk of a fall and injuries.



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35 Comments

  1. This is very important to know especially if you know any elderly person. It’s better to do something to prevent such fall to our love ones.

  2. Funny how my hubby and I were just talking about how his dad still likes doing little handyman stuff around his house. He’s 74 years old and we have to remind him not to climb on stairs anymore, lol

  3. As people age, bodies change and falls can cause a lot of damage. This is vital information to study and share.

  4. You really hit the nail on the head here, fall’s for a elderly person can be so terrible. We should certainly pay more attention

  5. Thank you for this article. Fall protection is so important with our aging population.

  6. My elderly is living in a different country but this post helps me better understand their symptoms and to do measures to prevent falls.

  7. Very helpful article. My mother who is 83 years of age is facing balance problems of late. Thanks for the insights.

  8. Eileen M Loya says:

    When you are caring for an elderly person, preventing a fall is your top priority. Some medications can cause balance issues and/or osteoporosis that can make bones brittle. It is always best to ask a doctor if a certain medication can cause balance issues.

  9. When my Nana was still with us, it seemed like she was falling all the time. It always scared me.

  10. thanks for sharing this information, your blog is really very useful and has very good advises and tips.

  11. Yyyeeeaaahhhhh…I recall a few years ago, my Mummy started on this bottle of supplements and she often said that she “felt vertigo” everywhere. When she dropped them, she was “good to go” all over again.

  12. Stacy B Miller says:

    Thank you for the article. This is a serious issue that you have put up. Really we people have no idea that inner ear plays such an important role in balance of human body.

  13. Poor circulation and medication can definitely be the cause. Also a brain injury, including a brain bleed. My mother had a brain bleed back in 2018. She woke up one day complete dizzy. She fell while getting up and also fell while walking into the bathroom. She didn’t know what was going on. After being life flighted to a hospital, they discovered she had a severe brain bleed and didn’t even know it. My mom was a nurse practitioner for many years and never thought she would have this kind of problem. They did surgery to correct it and now she is doing better than ever.

    • In Home Medical Supplies says:

      I’m so glad it worked out well for your mother. This is why getting old is not for the faint of heart. Thank you for commenting!

  14. This is great information, thanks for sharing. Unfortunately, my friend’s elderly father recently passed away, by falling down the stairs. Very important info!

  15. With a mom in her 70’s I’m always worried when she falls, last time breaking a hip, this is a really useful post

  16. Mary K Stallings says:

    I had no clue inner ear problems could be a cause for balance problems! Definitely forwarding the article to my grandpa now.

  17. Fatima D Torres says:

    It’s tough to see a loved on go through such falls. My father has experienced this in the past. More so during the winter season. He often loses his balance at home.

  18. This is such important information for people who have elderly parents or are getting older in years. It’s important to understand why falls happen so we can prevent them.

  19. This is the scariest part of aging to me. Elderly bodies aren’t as resilient as young bodies, and even if they don’t break a bone, they can still suffer other physical trauma during a fall.

  20. this is such important information for caregivers an elderly family members. Sometimes huge problems can be prevented if we pay attention

  21. This is so important. Falls among the elderly are no joke. Most elderly people are very frail, and it doesn’t take much to break a hip.

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