Why Do Seniors Fall (The Main Reasons Elderly Fall)

For seniors falling increases as we get older.  According to NCOA or the National Council on Aging one out of every four seniors that are age 65 and older falls each year.  Not only is it dangerous for seniors to fall it is one of the leading causes of injury, death, and hospital visits for seniors.  So why do seniors fall?  Let’s take a look at some of the reasons. 

Why do seniors fall?  Senors fall because of impaired vision, declining physical health, surgeries, lifestyles, and side-effects of medications that cause seniors to fall at a much higher rate than someone who is younger. 

The Top reasons seniors fall

  • Age and Physical decline.  As we get older our muscles start to get weaker, especially when we become less active.  This will cause muscles to become weak, loss of bone mass, and stability and balance issue can happen.  When this takes place falling becomes a greater risk.
  • Post-surgery.  After surgery especially in the elderly that can cause weakness and pain when moving result in a fall.  Not only can falling be amplified but mobility issues can happen to result in the use of crutches, canes, walkers, or scooters
  • Visions start to fail.  As we get older our vision starts to fail and we are more prone to eye-related diseases that make seeing and judging distances difficult.  Because of these, we can easily fall on objects like door jams, corners, furniture, and more because e just can’t see them properly. 
  • Hazards around the home.  Hazards around the home are one of the top reasons seniors fall.  Lighting issues, insufficient flooring, clutter, and lack of maintenance may increase the reasons why seniors fall. 

What causes a senior to fall for no reason?

A person, especially the elderly can fall for no reason.  Meaning it can be from a medical condition like a heart issue, MS, Parkinson’s disease, or other medical problems that the person suffers from.  

Falling for no reason can also happen when dehydration happens or if a circulation issue takes place causing dizziness or other issues that would cause the person to fall. 

Not only is the fall itself dangerous but the underlining conditions that caused the fall can be a major problem.

What can happen when a senior falls?

When a youth or young adult falls it typically is not that big of a deal.  But when a senior citizen takes a fall that is another story.  Bones are not as strong, mussels are weaker, and injury runs extremely high. 

Because of this, you should be proactive in trying to minimize falling, and if a fall happens to get a medical assessment to check for any serious issues. 

Falling for a senior can be broken bones, cuts, concussions, and even death.

Here are three extremely important reasons to check a senior after a fall.

  1. A senior falling can mean there are other serious medical issues that caused fall.  If someone is old and falls on their own and for no reason, this could be a sign of medical issues and needs to be checked by a doctor to rule out anything serious. 
  2. Make sure there are no broken bones or other internal issues from the fall.  Seniors who fall are at a greater risk of falling again.  Try and reduce this from happening to make sure they are okay from the first fall. 

How to prevent seniors from falling?

Prevention for seniors falling is something that should be taken seriously.  Now that we know what the main reasons are that would make a senior fall we can try and prevent them from happening.   

When it comes to the home we need to be aware of what shoes are worn by seniors, walking devices to help with balance, and post-surgery weakness we can try and combat falling. 

Seniors should:

  • Make sure their home is clutter-free with good lighting. 
  • Wear proper shoes without laces.
  • Try and keep moving with physical activity to keep muscles strong.
  • Use assistive mobility devices to help with balance and stability.
  • Make sure glasses are worn to help with vision

How to prevent seniors from falling out of bed

Another dangerous fall is for seniors to fall while sleeping from the bed.   Senors who roll or move at night have a higher risk of falling out of bed and not being able to get back up.

It is very important to find ways to limit this from happening.  Here are a few ways that you can prevent seniors from falling out of bed. 

  • Bed rails are the most common solution to help seniors from falling out of bed.  Rails can also be used to help just and position your loved ones while in bed.  Depending on where the bed is situated you may only need one side of the bed to have rails. 
  • Hospital bed.  For those who have difficulties also getting in and out of bed along with risks of falling out of bed, a hospital bed might be the answer.  These types of beds can be adjusted for angles, positions, and rights and they typically come with bed rails that are built-in. 
  • Foam Wedges.  Foam wedges are a cost-effective and less restrictive way that you can help someone stay in bed so they do not roll out of bed and fall.  These are foam wedges that can be placed around the edges of the bed preventing them from rolling off at night or during the day if they nap. 

Falling statistics for people over 65 years of age

why do seniors fall

According to the CDC, They report that one in four seniors will fall at least one time per year.  Out of these falls one in five falls from a senior citizen will result in a serious injury like head trauma or broken bones.  

Stats also show that more than three million seniors have to have treatment from an emergency room per year because of falling.  That is almost 800,000 seniors that must visit hospitals after a fall. 

Types of Injuries that happen to seniors from a fall

Hip fractures

  • Hip fractures. One of the most serious injuries that seniors face when falling is a broken hip.  These broken hips can seriously impact a person and level them without the ability to walk.  
  • Yearly there are over 300,000 elderly that fall and get a hip fracture 
  • 95 percent of hip fractures happen when someone falls sideways.
  • Three-quarters of hip fractures are from women.

Deaths from seniors that fall

For adults that are over the age of 65 falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths.  According to the CDC, the fall death rate is 64 deather per 100 thousand older adults.

Below is data from the CDC on falls that result in death in each state.

StateFall Deaths per 100KCompared to national rateCategory
AK 46 Lower 28-53

Medical Devices Can help seniors who fall

Medical devices that are on the market can help seniors if they fall when they are by themselves.  Any senior citizen who lives by themselves should own a medical device that will alert either someone who they set up within the device like a family member or it will directly alert the call center to send a medical emergency person to their location.

Some devices even provide fall detection that will automatically alert the family member or emergency responders without them having to press a button.

These devices have helped thousands of elderly men and women who have taken a fall and cannot get up.

Companies like Medical Guardian are one such company.  But there are many that provide these types of services. 

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About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.