Aging Options, an organization devoted to helping seniors protect their assets and improve their quality of life, recently published an article taken from Healthday about the best ways for seniors to prevent falls. With more than 800 Americans breaking a hip every day, most of which are caused by a fall. For a senior citizen, a hip fracture can be extremely serious, if not life-threatening. It also can result in a downward spiral in a senior citizen’s quality of life, and may lead to permanent incapacitation.
Seniors are more prone to falls due to fewer and weaker muscles. In turn, falls tend to have more severe consequences for seniors due to a lack of bone density. It is the opinion of at least one doctor that rather than simply treating falls in seniors, they should be preventing falls through the use of exercise. Walking and other forms of aerobic exercise increase heart health and strength training builds muscle mass and improve balance. All of these benefits of exercise can help prevent falls in senior citizens. The exercise ideally should be progressive in nature; the duration of exercise and the weight used in strength training exercises should increase over time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency rooms treat 2.8 million people each year for injuries related to falls. Twenty percent of those falls seen in emergency rooms result in serious injuries, such as head injuries and bone fractures. Falls lead to more than 95 percent of hip fractures; as indicated above, some senior citizens never recover from an injury of this magnitude. The bottom line is that 300,000 seniors are hospitalized each year for hip fractures, and given the consequences, any measures that can reduce falls in seniors are valuable.
The benefits of exercise cannot be understated. In just one year, a senior citizen can build up an additional three pounds in muscle tissue; when muscle building continues over a period of years, it definitely adds up. It’s also never too late to start exercising. Even an 80-year-old woman can increase her muscle strength by as much as 100% after one year, using increasing resistance over time.
Although senior citizens have the responsibility to take some measures to prevent falls, it is not uncommon for the negligence of hospital or nursing home staff to cause a fall. At Boller & Vaughan, we are here to stand up for the rights of senior citizens and their families who have suffered substantial injuries, whether physical, emotional, or financial, while under the care of those are supposed to prevent such injuries from occurring. Contact us today at (608) 268-0268, set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin nursing care abuse attorneys, and discover how we can help.