Unfortunately, falls are an extremely common problem for seniors. Not only do they oftentimes result in significant injuries, but these injuries can greatly decrease a person’s quality of life and may even result in their death. Nevertheless, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that one in four people over the age of 65 fall every year. This leads to many of them being admitted to the hospital with injuries costing around $67 billion per year for all involved.
How to Reduce the Burden of Falls
One of the best ways to reduce this burden is to prevent falls from ever happening in the first place. Oftentimes people over the age of 65 already have several health issues that can cause them to feel dizzy or have trouble maintaining their balance (e.g. the side effects of medications, orthopedic issues, deconditioning, visual abnormalities). Some of these issues are difficult, if not impossible to treat. Even if they are treated properly, they can still result in lingering dizziness or balance issues.
How Bifocals can Cause Balance Issues
The British Medical Journal recently discovered that older adults using bifocals are more likely to fall. This study included 600 people, 65 years old or older, who wore either monofocals or bifocals and were an increased fall risk. Researchers observed them walking; navigating rough, uneven ground; climbing stairs; and using public transportation. In doing so they discovered an 8% reduction in falls in those who wore monofocals. As such, researchers recommended that seniors who were routinely engaged in outdoor activities should wear monofocals while others could still wear bifocals as long as they correctly fit their needs.
Researchers believe this discovery is because humans utilize three main senses to maintain their equilibrium. These are their vision, sense of touch, and the input from their inner ear. In your brain they work together to help control and maintain your upright posture. When these senses are impacted, your brain can no longer properly integrate the information it receives and this adversely impacts your balance.
Fortunately having correctly fit glasses is a simple change that can help reduce your risk of falling. Here the use of monofocals instead of bifocals in seniors who are active outside of their homes may prove beneficial. However, those individuals who are predominantly home bound won’t receive such a great benefit by changing the type of glasses they wear. Additionally, anyone who already has multiple fall risk factors shouldn’t make this change in magnification styles. Of course, everyone aged 65+ would benefit greatly from receiving counseling regarding potential tripping hazards, especially if they’re also wearing glasses to help correct their vision.
Another unfortunate issue that many seniors face is the loss of their hearing. This will also significantly diminish the quality of their lives. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Thanks to Countryside Hearing Aids Services residents in Clearwater, Florida can enjoy their hearing and a high quality of life so make sure you set up an appointment with them today. As an added note, Countryside Hearing carries the latest hearing aids from Starkey which actually has a fall notification feature built in. So, if a person were to accidentally fall, notification of the event is automatically sent to whomever the patient chooses. This is Starkey’s take on hearing aids utilizing artificial intelligence to not only have you hearing better, but to also track your brain activity and physical activity along with the fall alert feature (among many more).
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