Six tips to help you prevent falls
Getting older is inevitable, but falling is not a normal part of aging. Geriatric Clinical Specialist Sarah Wilcox, PT, shared factors to be aware of that increase your risk of falling and tips to help you prevent falls.
“Each year 1 out of 4 older adults will experience a fall resulting in serious injuries such as broken bones or head injuries. Emergency rooms in the United States treat over 3 million patients for fall injuries each year. Someone who has experienced a fall is twice as likely to fall again,” said Wilcox.
Are you at risk for falling?
There are certain factors that can add up to make you more susceptible to falling and injuring yourself. Wilcox said your falling risk increases if you have:
- A history of previous falls
- Lower body weakness
- Difficultly walking, standing or using stairs
- Poor balance
- Poor vision
- Medications that you’re taking
- Dizziness or lightheadedness when standing
- A fear of falling
- Hazards in the home such as cluttered pathways, throw rugs or poor lighting
How can you prevent a fall?
Follow these tips from the National Council on Aging to help you prevent a fall.
- Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build up your balance, strength and flexibility.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls and talk about future prevention.
- Regularly review your medication with your doctor. Make sure your medication’s side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed by your doctor.
- Get your vision and hearing checked. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet. Be sure to have vision and hearing check-ups each year and update your glasses if your eyesight changes.
- Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe and install grab bars in key areas where you may need more support.
- Talk to your family members. Enlist their support of taking simple steps to stay safe. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support.
You can prevent falls and serious injuries before they happen. If you feel you are at risk, talk to your doctor and begin taking steps toward prevention.
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