Top 3 Myths About Falls - Debunked!

Top 3 Myths About Falls - Debunked!

It's Fall Prevention Week and we are all about prevention! When we recommend home modifications we are usually choosing that recommendation because it will decrease the risk of a fall. Prevention is so important because the domino effect of occurrences after a fall can be life-threatening! Falls result in more than 3 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually and are the leading cause of injury death in older Americans. So there's a real reason why occupational therapists and healthcare pros are always asking about falls. So, let's dive in to the details!

Top 3 Myths About Falls

Myth #1: Falls are a normal part of aging.

It's time to debunk this common misconception. While it's true that the risk of falling can increase as we age due to factors such as changes in vision, muscle strength, and balance, falls should never be considered a "normal" or acceptable part of the aging process. Falls are more often than not preventable with the right measures in place. Treating them as an inevitable consequence of getting older can lead to complacency and missed opportunities for interventions that can significantly reduce the risk of falls. Aging gracefully should not mean accepting a higher risk of falls; it should mean taking proactive steps to maintain mobility, strength, and balance, ultimately enabling us to enjoy our later years to the fullest. 
Myth #2: Only people who are older fall

Contrary to this myth, falls are not limited to older adults. While it's true that the risk of falling increases with age, people of all age groups can experience falls. In fact, children and young adults can be particularly prone to falls due to their active lifestyles, participation in sports, or simply being inattentive. Understanding that falls can happen at any age underscores the importance of adopting fall prevention measures early on, promoting lifelong safety.

Myth #3: If you haven't fallen before, you won't fall in the future

This myth is actually dangerous as it fosters a false sense of security. Just because someone has never experienced a fall does not guarantee they won't in the future. Several factors, including changes in health, medications, or the environment, can increase fall risk over time. Fall prevention is not solely for those who have fallen before; it's a proactive approach to reduce the risk for everyone, regardless of their fall history.

6 Key Tips for Preventing a Fall

These are just a few simple tips that are easy to manage and can make a huge difference in decreasing the risk for a fall. Make these changes now to prevent future issues. Over 40% of people hospitalized from hip fractures never return home or live independently again and we need to get that number down!
  1. Ensure proper medication management. Forgetting to take meds or accidentally taking too many can cause dizziness or lightheadedness which can lead to a fall.

  2. Increase daily activity level to improve balance over time.

  3. Put proper hand holds in places where the wall or a piece of furniture is touched often. Install grab bars or leave a cane in that place so there is always something safe to hold.

  4. Remove throw rugs, cords and other items that come across the walking area that can be tripped on - even if they have been there for 20 years! 😉

  5. Use nightlights along the path from your bedroom to the bathroom to avoid falls at night, which happen frequently!

  6. Put non-slip treads on the bottom of the tub or shower or even on the floor of the bathroom to provide traction in the most slippery of places.
If these seem like they apply to you or someone you know we can help figure out custom solutions. Schedule a virtual visit with one of our occupational therapists and we'll help figure out what are the best things to be done to prevent a fall.
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Brandy Archie, OTD, OTR/L, CLIPP

Dr. Archie received her doctorate in occupational therapy from Creighton University. She is a certified Living in Place Professional with past certifications in low vision therapy, brain injury and driving rehabilitation.  Dr. Archie has over 15 years of experience in home health and elder focused practice settings which led her to start AskSAMIE, a curated marketplace to make aging in place possible for anyone, anywhere! Answer some questions about the problems the person is having and then a personalized cart of adaptive equipment and resources is provided.

She's a wife, mother of 3 and a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan! Connect with her on Linked In or by email anytime.

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