Falls among the elderly is of great concern because they often lead to deaths. In fact, "among older adults, injuries cause more deaths than either pneumonia or diabetes" (Warshaw, 2006). And falls account for about half of these deaths due to injuries in the elderly. Falls often cause a decline in the quality of life of the elderly patient who will have decreased independence due to his injuries. And this decreased quality of lifestyle can ultimately lead to their early death. Fractures that often result from falls are usually of the hips, forearm, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand (Scott, 1990, as cited by Centers for Disease Control, 2009).
Falls are defined in different ways by different authors. The World Health Organization defines a fall as "an event, which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or other lower level" (as quoted by Victorian Government health Association, 2008). Other authors think this definition is incomplete and include possible causes of falls like violent blows, loss of consciousness, sudden onset of paralysis as in stroke or an epileptic seizure (Gibson, et.al., 1987, as quoted by Victorian Government Health Association, 2008). ...
There are various ways of preventing falls among the elderly population. These measures are not mutually exclusive; they can all be used for the patient in order to reduce the risk of falls to the lowest possible percentage.
One of these measures may be categorized as environmental precautions. Environmental factors such as loose rugs or mats, electric leads and wires, and wet surfaces are factors which increase the risk of falls. Simple prevention measures can be adapted around the house in order to reduce or even eliminate the risk of falls from loose rugs and electrical wires. By simply eliminating these rugs and electric wires, falls can be prevented. Carpet edges should also be firmly tacked or taped down in order to prevent tripping. In order to prevent slips from slippery and wet surfaces, "bathrooms should have sturdy grab rails near the tub and toilet" (Loue, et.al., p. 260). Lighting should also be made bright in all rooms of the house in order to ensure that possible tripping hazards are seen by the elderly. Stairs should have handrails on both sides. Footwear should also be those of the non-slip or non-skid variety. These should provide adequate support, fit snugly and not easily fall off. By adapting these precautions, risks of falls can be prevented among the elderly. These precautions and prevention measures are simple and easy to adapt. And they do not cost much to apply.
Strength and Balance Factors
The factors of power and balance contribute to the risk of falls and injuries. When a person rises from his chair or when he walks around the