Falls are a serious problem for many American seniors, but there are a number of ways to reduce the risk, a senior health expert says.

The millions of falls that occur each year threaten seniors’ health, independence and lives, and account for $31 billion in medical costs annually.

“The best medical treatment for injuries from falls is to prevent them from happening in the first place,” said Dr. Sonja Rosen, chief of geriatric medicine for Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Los Angeles.

“Seniors who have fallen — or are afraid they will — should get a comprehensive risk assessment from a geriatrician, who can determine the causes of their falls and give them a treatment plan,” she advised in a news release from the group.

“Falls are common but never normal with aging,” Rosen said. “In many cases, we can prevent falls by following a few common sense guidelines.”

She shares the following tips:

  • Most people fall at home. Eliminate fall hazards by getting rid of loose rugs, removing clutter from hallways, and keeping an open pathway to the bathroom and turning on a dim light at night.
  • If you have a cane or walker, always use it as directed.
  • If you fall, tell your doctor and ask for a review of your medications. Certain drugs can increase the risk of falls.

Research shows that effective measures reduce the risk of frequent falling in seniors by 30 to 40 percent, Rosen said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on older adults and falls.

Source: HealthDay

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