As you get older taking extra precautions to prevent falls from occurring often is important. Take control and stay safe with these five steps:
Find a good balance or exercise program – Look into local resources or technique classes that can help you build balance, strength, and flexibility. You can also look up different techniques online that you can try in the comfort of your own home.
Discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider – If you begin to notice your balance is a little off or if you are falling more often than before, talk with your healthcare providers. They may suggest a walker, cane, or other medical instrument as a solution.
Regularly review medications with your doctor and pharmacist – Stay in control of what you put into your body, and how much. Check in with your doctors often to see if your intake dosage hasn’t changed; if a prescription feels too strong, let them know. Also, make sure the side effects of your medications are not contributing to or increasing your risk of falling. Taking too much of a medication can negatively affect the body.
Keep your home safe – Be cognizant of where things are placed in your home. Get rid of any tripping hazards you may have lying around and increase lighting to reduce the risk of tripping on objects that may be hidden by shadows. For older folks, installing grab bars or railing where most needed might be a good idea. Areas to consider are the shower, staircases, long hallways, and in the kitchen.
Get your vision and hearing checked annually – While keeping your living environment safe is key to reducing the amount of falls, making sure you get your annual check-ups is most important. Make sure to get your eye exams completed on a yearly basis, to ensure your vision is most accurate. Ear exams should also be done on a yearly basis; eyes and ears keep you on your feet longer.
Current statistics on falling:
- One in four Americans aged 65+ fall each year.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the Emergency Room for a fall.
- Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.