Did you know that if your parents are seniors, their number one risk of a fatal injury, a broken hip or traumatic brain injury is falling?
So what are your parent's chances of falling? If they're over 65 years old they have a thirty percent chance of falling in any given year. That number rises to fifty percent for those 75 years and older!
The great news is, falls are also one of the most preventable accidents. Staying fit, making changes to your home, getting your eyes examined and talking with your doctor all help reduce the chance of falling.
So how do you know if your mother or father is at risk of falling? Below is a questionnaire prepared by the CDC. If your parents answer yes to four or more questions, they're at risk of falling and should speak to their doctor. Their doctor might review their medications, recommend medical treatment or specific strength, balance and flexibility exercises.
Risk of Falling Questionnaire From CDC
|Yes / No||Question||Relevance|
|Have you fallen within the past year?||People who have fallen, are more likely to fall again.|
|Do you use a cane or walker, or has it been recommended?||People who have been recommended to use a cane or walker are more like to fall.|
|Do you ever feel unsteady or need support when walking?||Poor balance is an indication a higher likelihood to fall.|
|Do you worry about falling?||People who worry about falling are more likely to fall.|
|Do you need to use your hands when getting up from a chair or sofa?||This can be an indication of weak leg muscles, increasing chances of a fall.|
|Do you have difficulties stepping onto the sidewalk curb?||This can be an indication of weak leg muscles, increasing chances of a fall.|
|Do you rush to the toilet?||Rushing to the toilet, especially late at night, increases probability of a fall.|
|Have you lost some feeling in your feet?||Loss of feeling, numbness, or pins and needles in your feet can increase likelihood of tripping and falling.|
|Do you take medicine that makes you feel drowsy, dizzy or light headed?||Medication side effects can increase likelihood of falling.|
|Do you take sleep medications or medications to help your mood?||Medication side effects can increase likelihood of falling.|
|Do you feel "down" or depressed frequently?||Depressive symptoms increase probability of falling.|
If you answered yes to four or more questions, your mother or father is at risk of falling according to the CDC.
However, even if you answered yes to only one question, we'd still recommend speaking with a doctor. Sometimes a simple change in medication dosage, treatment of a UTI, or a new exercise routine can help keep your parents alive, well and on their feet.