Behavioral risk factors of falls in the home.
Behavioral Risk Factors Contributing To Falls In The Home:
Behavioral risk factors contributing to falls can include lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and/or poor diet, or the use of medicine with negative physical and neurological side effects.  Behavioral risk factors can include:
A history of previous falls is one of the best predictors of a future fall.  Any previous fall increases the risk for another fall threefold, because the previous fall may have resulted in loss of strength, balance and reflexes.
Risk taking behavior such as seniors climbing on ladders or standing on unsteady chairs can cause injury.  Many seniors also report that their fall occurred when they were rushing, not paying attention, or not using mobility devices prescribed for them such as a cane or walker. Excessive alcohol consumption (14 or more drinks per week) can fit into this category, as well.
Some prescription drugs, and/or combining two or more prescriptions can affect coordination, judgement, and alertness, increasing the risk of a fall.  Some drugs can increase postural hypotension (a significant drop in blood pressure that occurs with a sudden change in position), resulting in dizziness.  Others can cause weakness or increased stiffness in the muscles, which in turn can impair the individual's mobility.  Medications to treat sleep problems, anxiety (i.e. Xanax, Valium) or depression (i.e. Paxil, Zoloft) can nearly double the chance of a fall in the home.
Clothing and footwear can also contribute to falls in the home, although this has not been fully researched yet.  Shoes, sandals, or slippers that do not fit properly, have worn-out soles, or are not properly fastened when worn can contribute to falls, as can long dressing or nightgowns, or ill-fitting trousers.
Improper diet or lack of physical activity may contribute to both falls and related injuries.  Lack of even basic exercise can decrease bone density and muscle mass, which in turn can cause poor balance. Inadequate diet relates to falls in two ways: Lack of essential nutrients can cause weakness or dizziness that can lead to a fall, and a lack of vitamin D and calcium increases the risks of bone fractures related to a fall.
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