THE FACTS


Falling is a common and very serious problem for the older adult. It has been reported that one in three older adults living at home fall each year. The reality is that the frequency considers only those falls that result in reported medical care. The incidence may far exceed the reported frequency.

The personal and medical costs for falls and subsequent rehabiliitations exceed $70 billion a year. It is, however, the human costs that are the most severe as falls significantly impact the quality of life of the individual, the caregiver and the family.

Fear of falling becomes a major concern even if hospitalization is not required. Fear leads to a vicious cycle of lost confidence and increased inactivity, which perpetuates to more fear, decreased self-confidence and decreased activity---thus, the quality of life suffers.
SEEK HELP OF OTHERS

You may reduce your risk for falling by seeking the help of your Doctor, Health Provider, and others.
Your Doctor can review your medical history and the medications you are currently taking with appropriate dosing adjustments. Your Doctor may also treat any heart rhythm abnormalities and low blood pressure if present. Your eye specialist will examine your vision and make appropriate recommendations.

Your Healthcare Provider may recommend a more complete balance assessment, evaluation of your gait and balance and the functional strength of your extremities. They may recommend an exercise program to include balance training, and help you decide upon the most appropriate walking aid for you.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Consider the following areas to reduce your risk of falling at home:

  • Tell your Healthcare Provider if you have fallen in the past year and describe how you fell. 
  • Talk to your Doctor and pharmacist about medicines you take. 
  •  Tell your Healthcare Provider if you feel weak in your legs or have any other problems with your legs or feet. 
  • Tell your Doctor if you are experiencing vision or hearing loss. 
  • Perform a home assessment for safety to include lighting, flooring, and furniture placement.

Fall Risk Self-Assessment

This questionnaire is intended to provide you with an indication as to your level of risk for having a debilitating fall.

AGE 60-70 YEARS................................1
70-80 YEARS...............................2
81 YEARS AND UP .....................3
HOSPITALIZED IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS ...........................1
MENTAL ACUITY FORGETFUL...................................1
IMPULSIVE....................................2
DISORIENTED.............................3
GAIT & MOBILITY USES CANE/WALKER.................1
LOSS OF BALANCE/WEAK ............................................................2
FALL IN LAST 3 MONTHS.......3
ELIMINATION SENSE OR URGENCY...................1
REQUIRE ASSISTANCE............2
INCONTINENCE...........................3
MEDICATIONS Currently taking antidepressants
or medications that may impair
thought process, cause vertigo,
lower blood pressure, cause
central nervous system
alterations.........................................1
Laxatives or diuretics.....................2
TOTAL POINTS ______
0-5 Points = Low Risk 6-8 Points = Moderate Risk 8+ Points = High Risk

WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?

Osteoporosis literally means "porous bones". Simply stated - osteoporosis is a condition in which the bone mass or density is less than would be expected for a person of a given age. The loss of bone mass causes bone to become fragile and subject to fracture. Often referred to as the "silent disease", osteoporosis develops slowly, over the course of many years, and may not be revealed until a fracture occurs.
Although women account for 80% of the osteoporosis cases in the United States, this disease crosses genders, and all ages, lifestyles, and ethnic groups.

THE FACTS

Medical experts estimate that 28 million Americans may be affected by osteoporosis or osteopenia - the early stages of osteoporosis.
The consequences of osteoporosis may be life with disability. Bone loss is the cause of 90% of all hip fractures. Half will require assistance with walking and one quarter of will need special care.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Bone is a living tissue that is in a constant state of loss and re-growth. Peak bone density is reached at about age 30. Initial bone loss occurs slowly with more rapid loss for women after menopause when there are decreased levels of estrogen present in the body, and, for men after the age of 65. Bone loss may first occur in the spongy bones of the hip, spine, and wrist.
The first sign of osteoporosis is usually a fracture that may occur without a fall or trauma to the fracture site. Wrist fractures are very common in the presence of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis may cause generalized aches and pains and discomfort when sitting or standing.
Loss of height, often associated with curvature of the spine, or Dowager's Hump, is indicative of osteoporosis.
Unexplained tooth loss and loosening of dentures may also indicate the presence of osteoporosis.

The foundation for healthy bone begins early and continues throughout life. Your can improve your bone health by adhering to the following keys to prevent and treat osteoporosis:

  • Increase Your Calcium Intake 
  • Avoid Heavy Alcohol Use 
  • Stop or Limit Smoking 
  • Exercise
  • Consult your health care practitioner for advice concerning your specific risks for developing osteoporosis and for proper management of the disabling disease.