How to Help Prevent Falls
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury in the elderly and account for over 70 percent of ER visits for older adults. Every year, one in three adults age 65 or older falls. Making the situation even more dangerous, not only the risk of falling increases as we age, the complications from falls also become more serious. Seniors are much more likely than younger people to experience a hip fracture or traumatic brain injury after a fall.
According to the National Institutes of Health, some of the major risk factors for falling include:
- Muscle weakness, especially in the legs
- Balance issues
- Unsafe footwear
- Poor vision
- Medications that cause dizziness or drowsiness
- Hazards in the home
The good news is that many falls can be prevented. Here are just a few ways you can lower your risk for falls and the subsequent damage they can cause.
You don’t need go to a gym every day to experience the benefits of exercise. Almost everyone can perform some form of physical activity and every little bits helps. Squats, leg extensions and toe stands can strengthen the legs, providing more support when walking. Tai chi, yoga and similar practices can help improve balance. Simple walking can improve strength, balance and endurance. Be sure to check with your physician before starting and exercise routine. If you experience any pain, dizziness or trouble breathing during or after exercise, talk with your health care provider.
Check your medications
Many medications have can cause dizziness or drowsiness, which can increase your chance of falling. Overmedication is also a problem common in seniors. Do a “medication checkup” with your doctor or pharmacist on a regular basis to see if there are any you’re not taking any drugs that are contraindicated when used with the other drugs you’re taking.
Wear sensible shoes
Trade in those high heels for some sneakers with nonskid soles. Around the house, floppy slippers and walking around in stocking feet can cause one to slip on hardwood or tile floors.
Fall-proof your home
Almost half of all falls happen in the home. You can help reduce the risk by making your home safer.
- The bathroom is a particularly risky place for falls. Install handrails in the bathroom and use nonskid bath mats in the tub shower.
- Don’t limit nonskid flooring to the bathroom – use it throughout the house.
- Remove clutter and arrange furniture so there’s a clear pathway for people to move freely.
Check your vision
Poor vision increases the likelihood of a fall. Visit your ophthalmologist for a vision test and to check if there are any other issues, like glaucoma or cataracts, which may be causing your problems.
Hire an in-home caregiver
A professional caregiver can perform some of the tasks that create falls, including reaching for food or a dish on a high shelf, cleaning hard-to-reach places, or walking the dog. They can also assist with taking you to medical appointments and assist in helping with certain exercise routines.
CPT Rehab utilizes research, guidelines and programs from the CDC, the Arthritis Foundation and various professional organizations to ensure that treatments and exercise programs incorporate the most pertinent and relevant information available to help prevent falls.