For Americans 65 and over, fractures are often the result of a simple fall. The connection between falls and fractures in this demographic is a significant public health concern, as many of these injuries occur due to environmental factors.
Understanding the risk factors and addressing environmental contributors is the key to reducing the incidence of falls and fractures among older adults.
Environmental factors that amplify fall risks
Many environmental factors contribute to the increased risk of falls among older Americans. Uneven flooring surfaces, inadequate lighting and poorly maintained walking areas pose significant hazards. Loose rugs, slippery floors and cluttered pathways further compound the risks. This highlights a need to address these environmental challenges to ensure the safety of older individuals. Insufficient handrails or grab bars in key areas like bathrooms and stairwells can also amplify risks. This highlights a need for enhanced safety measures.
The role of medication and vision impairment
Beyond environmental factors, certain health-related elements contribute to fall risks among older adults. Medications that cause dizziness or affect balance can increase the likelihood of a fall. Vision impairments may also compromise an individual’s ability to navigate surroundings. So, too, can the use of certain prescription medications. Combining the effects of medication and vision-related challenges with environmental hazards creates a dangerous combination. It can also elevate the risk of falls and fractures.
The National Floor Safety Institute reports that falls cause 87% of all fractures experienced by adults 65 and over. They are also the second-leading cause of brain and spinal cord injuries among this demographic. Prioritizing preventive safety measures helps create an environment that supports the well-being and safety of Americans aged 65 and over. It also reduces the risk of fractures and other injuries resulting from falls.