The well-known phrase, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” is an unfortunate reality for many elderly men and women. One out of every three Americans over the age of 65 fall at least once a year suffering injuries such as bone fractures, joint dislocation, and other serious trauma. Nearly one-half of those who do incur a serious injury never fully recover making falls one of the most substantial health threats facing older Americans. For the geriatric population, that is a frightening statistic.
Why do the elderly fall? Our immediate response would be to think that most of these accidents occur as a result of unsafe areas in the home, but research has shown that most of these types of accidents have less to do with whether we have our rugs safely tacked down and more to do with our health. Surprisingly, most falling accidents occur as a result of weak leg muscles, poor vision, and prescription medication that affect balance.
There are a few things we can do to help prevent falling: remain active, focus on leg-strengthening exercises, eat calcium-rich foods, or invest in Tai-Chi classes that will help increase strength and balance. For further information on what you can do to protect yourself contact Dr. Riffat Sadiq, a geriatrician at WNY Medical PC, located at 4979 Harlem Road in Amherst. For an appointment call 923-4380.