Miss Caroline Bellefleur, @MeeMawBellefleu, a fixture in Bon Temps society and noted baker, was injured in a fall at her home, Belle Rive, recently. Currently hospitalized as a result of the injuries she sustained, Miss Caroline is in a coma and her prognosis is guarded. Her family is cautiously optimistic but remains very worried.
Falls, like the one suffered by Miss Caroline, can pose a serious health risk for older adults. Falls, especially among the elderly, are caused by more than one factor. For instance, poor vision can lead to decreased physical activity which brings about loss of strength and dexterity, thereby increasing the risk of a fall. Further, diet and medication can impact both the likelihood of injury and the length of time require to recover from injuries. Familiarity with surroundings can lull people into not paying enough attention to their surroundings or noticing subtle changes that may have occurred over a period of years until they pose significant risks. Recognizing that many factors contribute to a fall can help prevent them, not just in the elderly, but in persons of all ages.
The American Geriatrics Society recommends that older adults with high risk factors of falling undergo a fall risk assessment. Such assessments can identify unique factors that could lead to a fall. Risk assessments are just one part of an integrated fall risk management program. Other interventions include: education, exercise and physical activity (including balance exercises) and home hazard assessment and modifications.
Don’t wait until someone in your family falls. Make a risk assessment part of their and your annual physical. It can’t hurt and it could save someone’s life.