Risk Factors for Falls

Today at the Atria at the Arboretum, a beautiful retirement community, Capitol Home Health’s Lead Therapist, Cheryl Campbell, gave a very informative presentation on Risk Factors for Falls. The attendees were so responsive towards this presentation that the Q&A at the ended last into the next section. Being that this topic was such a hit, we thought we would just recap on her speech for this week’s blog and share some pictures!

The importance of educating ourselves on ways to reduce the chance of a fall and the harm that a fall can have on our older bodies is common knowledge to everyone at all ages. But it’s also just as important to know the most common risks, the risks that you can prevent, and ones that are inevitable and come with aging.

Most falls are caused by the combination of multiple risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chance of falling. To prevent falls, healthcare providers aim their focus on the modifiable risk factors primarily. These can be:

  • Lower body weakness
  • Use of psychoactive medications
  • Postural dizziness
  • Poor vision
  • Problems with feet or shoes
  • Home hazards

These are all things that can be modified with the assistance of your healthcare provider. It’s also good though, to be aware of ALL risk factors and these are usually categorizes into intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic factors are those that come with age.

  • Previous falls, muscle weakness, poor vision, chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s, incontinence and dementia or even the fear of falling are factors that fall in this category.

The first step is to recognize these risk factors and then prepare yourself for them. If you’ve fallen before or have weak muscles, consider using the proper assistive devices. If you suffer from incontinence issues, take the necessary precautions that way when the issue arrive you are not rushing to the restroom and therefore increasing your risks for a fall.

Extrinsic factors are ones that have nothing to do with you, and more from your surroundings.

  • Lack of handrails, dim lighting, obstacles or tripping hazards, slippery or uneven surfaces and even improper use of assistive devices are all extrinsic risk factors.

Pointing out and addressing these factors are something that a home health provider can assist you with. Moving a rug, placing night lights throughout your halls and even proper training for your canes or walkers make a huge difference.

Being able to identify risk factors before they become an issue is the best way to make sure you do not become a fall victim. For more information or if you have any questions, give us a call at 512.467.6900 and we can get your questions answered!

CHH blog photo 7