Depression is definitely common among seniors, but that isn’t the only reason they choose isolation over interaction. Medical News Today reports the cause-and-effect results of a new study from the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science journal: vision problems trigger a fear of falling, thereby causing seniors to limit their activities.
The CDC estimates that every year, one in every three adults over the age of 65 falls — whether at home or in assisted living. Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, says the CDC, and “the death rates from falls…have risen sharply over the past decade.” The fear of falls is certainly a legitimate one.
However, the study indicates that the fear of falls is provoked further by a visual impairment, be it AMD (age-related macular degeneration), glaucoma, Fuchs corneal dystrophy, and other vision issues. These two health concerns working together lead many seniors to opt for a “protective strategy” and limit their activities. The logic makes sense, but unfortunately, doing so “puts seniors at risk for social isolation and disability,” per the Medical News Today article.
If a senior relative or friend you know has cut back on activities outside the home (or their assisted living apartment) recently, ask them if they are experiencing more vision loss or difficulties/if they are afraid of falling. Encourage them to talk to their physician about a solution to increase their confidence and help them stay mobile.