According to the National Council On Aging, many people think that falls are just a part of getting older. However, falls are not inevitable – and they are mostly preventable. There are things anyone can do to reduce the risk of falling.
Approximately one in three of those 65 and older fall each year. Unfortunately, these incidents are a major cause of injury and death – and a common factor impacting independence and mobility for these individuals.
What can you do to prevent falls?
Do strength and balance exercises daily. (Your YMCA or local community center may have special programs just for this!) There are many great benefits from staying active!
Know when to ask for help – falls can be very serious! Many medications can increase the risk of falling. Talk to your healthcare provider about possible side effect, interactions, and proper times to take your medications. While you are at it, get your vision checked at least annually. Uncorrected vision increases the chance of falling.
Take a look at your environment! Half of all fall hazards are in the home! Don’t be afraid to ask for a handrail in the shower or a night light in the bathroom. Never run indoors to answer the phone (it can wait – really). Clean up spills immediately. Throw rugs are a common source of falls as are oxygen tubing, wobbly walkers or canes without secure rubber tips. Also remove items in walk ways that someone may slip or trip on – both in the home and on side walks.
People are more steady when walking or standing while wearing shoes than when barefoot or wearing socks or slippers. Poorly fitting shoes are likewise a hazard. Sturdy, supportive shoes should fit well, be in good repair (no loose or slippery soles) and not be overly heavy, have high heels, or laces that easily become untied.
…And consider this – How important is it to talk about fall risk hazards with friends and family? A single fall can be the difference between an independent life and serious, permanent, and incapacitating injury. Keep yourself, others, and your community safe from falls.
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