Falls happen. Unfortunately, popular belief has strengthened the myth that falling down is a natural part of the aging process, and that is simply not the case.
The power of a myth is strong. It can prevent people from seeking medical help or taking steps to reduce their risk of serious injury. Because your safety and continued independence is important to us, we compiled a list of the top five myths surrounding falls among older adults.
We hope you find this information reassuring, and helpful.
Myth 1: Falling is someone else’s issue. It won’t happen to me.
Truth: The truth is that 1 in 4 older adults do fall every year in the U.S. However, there is a caveat: the NCBI has reported that people older than 65 “were no more likely than younger people to report falling in general.”
Muscle strains, fractures, and breaks will occur more frequently in older persons who suffer from a fall, and the resulting treatment sought for these injuries lends a false sense of credibility to this myth.
Myth 2: It’s normal to fall as you get older.
Truth: Falling is not a normal part of aging. It can be the result of getting less exercise, medication mismanagement, or decreased vision. In other words, falls can be an outlying side effect of an initial action or condition.
By making strength and balance exercises a part of your daily routine, adhering to your medication schedule, and receiving regular vision check-ups, you can make your immediate environment safer and, consequently, reduce your risk of falling.
Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I decrease my chances of a fall.
Truth: This couldn’t be farther from the truth (see above). In fact, increased physical activity will strengthen the muscles necessary to keep you upright, extend your range of motion, and improve your balance.
Some low-impact activities that show measurable results in increasing muscle strength, tone, and improving balance include walking, yoga, and even Tai Chi.
Myth 4: I’ll just exercise at home. If I stay at home, I’ll decrease my chance of falling.
Truth: More than 50% of all falls take place in the home. That said, it is possible to reduce the risk of falling in the home by:
- Cleaning up clutter
- Securing throw rugs on floors
- Adjusting poor lighting
- Adding assistance rails to stairways and/or bathrooms or
- Adding non-skid treads and/or paint to steps
But that 50% statistic still stands. Besides, getting out and participating in social activities is good for your overall health and increases the likelihood of maintaining an active lifestyle.
Myth 5: The muscle, strength, and flexibility you lose as you age can’t be regained.
Truth: We do lose muscle as we age, but exercise can help restore strength and flexibility. Even if you’ve been inactive for a long period of time, increasing your exercise will only be beneficial in the long run. Just remember to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. Becoming active now, even later in life, can help you in many ways – including reducing your risk of falling.
Most falls can be prevented, and you have the power to reduce your risk of suffering the repercussions of accidental falls both inside and outside of your home. By increasing your exercise, adhering to your medication schedules, having your vision checked regularly, making your living environment safer, and participating in social activities, you will be well on the way to reducing your risk of falling – no matter your age.
However, even after fall-risks have been identified and addressed, falls can – and do – still happen. We understand that finding a comfortable, welcoming rehabilitation center can be just as traumatic as the injuries sustained by a fall.
At The Arbors, we focus on your comfort, rehabilitation, and getting you safely back home. If you are searching for a rehabilitation environment that will help you or your loved one navigate the rehabilitation process while recovering from a fall-related injury, come take a tour of our facility and see how our highly skilled staff and thoughtful services can help you heal.