Every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall in the United States.¹
Each year, millions of older people – those 65 and older – fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.¹
In honor of National Fall Prevention Day which kicked off on the first day of fall, September 22, let’s shine a light on some common myths that elders hold about falls so that we can better prepare our older adults to transition back into the community.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) published 10 Common myths that we, as clinicians, can help debunk for our community dwelling seniors. Access the full document here.
Many older adults think falls are a normal part of aging. The truth is, they’re not. Most falls can be prevented, and individuals have the power to reduce their risk. Exercising, managing medications, having vision checked and making living environment safer are all steps older adults can take to prevent a fall.
Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me.
Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older.
Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.
Myth 4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling.
Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can’t be regained.
Myth 6: Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.
Myth 7: I don’t need to get my vision checked every year.
Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.
Myth 9: I don’t need to talk to family members or my health care provider if I’m concerned about my risk of falling. I don’t want to alarm them, and I want to keep my independence.
Myth 10: I don’t need to talk to my parent, spouse or other older adult if I’m concerned about their risk of falling. It will hurt their feelings and it’s none of my business.
As clinicians, we may take for granted that patients understand how they can stay independent, and minimize their risk for falling by staying active and modifying their home environment. Please use this information and the CDC’s Project STEADI resources to promote fall safety awareness in the home and improve your older adult patient’s transitions back into the community.