As people get older they begin to lose some of their cognitive skills and sharpness. This unfortunately leads to a higher increase of physical injury. Not only are injuries among seniors more common, recovering from these usually takes a longer amount of time as well.
While the aging process is inevitable, there are certain measures seniors and their loved ones can take in hopes of minimizing the impact of an injury. This can help avoid long-term pain, long periods of recovery, hospital visits, and hefty medical bills.
Falls are the most common injury among people over 65 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These falls are the leading cause for non-fatal and fatal injuries, with over three million people treated each year in emergency rooms due to falling.
Seniors who fall can suffer from severe injuries, such as broken bones. Broken wrists are extremely common due to seniors trying to break their fall. Hip fractures are another result of falling, especially sideways, while broken ribs and nose are other painful injuries. Fall can also lead to brain injuries, which can lead to a long rehabilitation period.
Even though falls are the most common injuries among seniors, there are measures to reduce this risk. Installing grab bars or handrails in heavily trafficked areas around the house offers more stability while moving. This is especially important in the bathroom as this one of the most common places where seniors fall. Keeping floors clean and clear will also reduce the chance of slipping or tripping.
Burns are another common injury, especially for those who cook regularly. Whether it is due to a cooking accident, appliance malfunction, or forgetting to turn a candle off, burns are the second leading cause of fatal injuries among seniors. This is primarily due to the fact that seniors do not respond to fire treatments as well as younger people do.
Steps seniors and loved ones can take to prevent burn injuries include placing fire extinguishers among the kitchen and bedroom areas. Also, keeping smoke and carbon monoxide detectors properly running and getting hand mittens for seniors that will cover a major part of their arm while cooking are important. Additionally, always make sure all candles, cigarettes, and other fire sources are properly extinguished.
While these are much less painful than fractures, sprain injuries are extremely common among seniors. Tendons in the hands and ankles tend to become less flexible and this increases the risk of sprains and strains. These injuries can happen from everyday activities such as standing up from the couch or bed to catching themselves from a fall or even stepping in an uneven surface.
Handrails and hand bars can also prevent wrist injuries just like falls. By installing these around the house seniors can gain a better sense of balance and not put so much strain and pressure in their wrist and ankles. Having good lighting throughout the house will also ensure seniors have a good sense of where they’re stepping to reduce ankle sprains.
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