What are Falls and Fractures

Falls pose a significant risk, especially as individuals age, and can result in fractures that limit mobility and may require surgery for healing. Several factors contribute to falls, including loss of footing or traction and slowed reflexes associated with aging.

Loss of footing occurs when there’s incomplete contact between the foot and the ground, while loss of traction happens when feet slip on wet or slippery surfaces. Tripping over uneven surfaces or using household items unsafely, like climbing on chairs, can also lead to falls.

Aging slows reflexes, making it harder to react quickly to environmental stimuli or regain balance after sudden movements. Bone fragility increases the risk of fractures, even from minor falls, as bones become fragile and thin over time due to decreased bone density.

Preventing falls and fractures is crucial, and safety measures can be implemented both indoors and outdoors:

Outdoor safety tips:

  • Use a walker or cane in bad weather for stability.
  • Wear warm boots with rubber soles for better grip.
  • Be cautious on slippery surfaces like highly polished floors.
  • Take advantage of community services for assistance, especially in bad weather.
  • Be mindful of curbs, especially those with inclines.

Indoor safety tips:

  • Keep floors clutter-free and surfaces smooth but not slippery.
  • Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes indoors and avoid walking in socks or slippers.
  • Ensure carpets and rugs have skid-proof backing or are secured to the floor.
  • Keep cords and wires out of walkways to prevent tripping hazards.

Maintaining a calcium-rich diet is also essential for bone health:

  • Adults up to age 50 should consume 1,000 mg of calcium daily.
  • Women over 50 and men over 70 should increase intake to 1,200 mg daily through a combination of foods and supplements.

Implementing these safety measures and dietary recommendations can help reduce the risk of falls and fractures, promoting overall health and mobility, especially as individuals age.