How is elderly fall risk connected to chronic pain? We have the answer

Yesterday, I talked about how to keep elders safe. I mentioned how a slip and fall might not do much to you or me, but it could severely injure an older person. Today, let’s discuss elderly fall risk.

People fall all their life. As kids, we fall during play and other activities — kids love it. A child’s human body is flexible and bones rarely break even from the worst falls. Unfortunately, as people get older, their bodies become more fragile. When a middle age person falls, their bodies hurt for days and weeks. But, again, usually the bones don’t break.

However, when an elderly person falls there is a risk of catastrophic injuries because the aging human body becomes much more fragile. Up until recently, the correlation between aging and the severity of injury resulting from falls has been well known. However, a recent study has shown that there is another factor that also increases the likelihood of a severe injury when an elderly person falls. That factor is chronic pain.

What contributes to elderly fall risk?

There are many factors to consider. For example, studies show that increasing age, poor health and medication use all increase the risk of fall to elderly person. But, it was not until recently that researchers “stumbled” upon chronic pain as another factor. In an article in an issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers examined 749 patients age 70 and older for more than two years. The study results show that chronic pain increases elderly fall risk by 1.5-fold. In other words, those who suffer from chronic pain are 1.5 times more likely to suffer from a fall.

What can I do to prevent elderly fall risk in my relatives?

Pay close attention to your loved ones. That’s probably the single most important thing you can do. Make sure your parents and grandparents live in a safe environment with sturdy stairwells, handrails, ramps and well-kept floors. If your loved one is in a nursing home, that’s one thing to look for. If someone should fall, even if it doesn’t seem serious, call a doctor and have it checked out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If something happens to your loved one in a nursing home, first call a doctor. Next, call a nursing home abuse lawyer. Your relatives deserve safety and proper care at a home. If they’re not getting it, please let us know. Our experienced civil trial attorneys are always available to help. Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

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