Falls are a threat to the health of older adults and can reduce their ability to remain independent.
Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
These injuries can make it hard for a person to get around, do everyday activities, or live on their own. As loved ones age, balance becomes a significant issue due to a variety of factors, including physical weakness, medications and cognitive or visual impairment. Ideally a source of comfort for aging loved ones, the home can become hazardous without a fall-preventive strategy.
Falls can be prevented. The CDC recommends a few simple things that can help prevent falls.
Tips for helping to prevent falls.
Talk to Your Doctor
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling and talk with them about specific things you can do.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines.
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about taking vitamin D supplements.
Do Strength and Balance Exercises
Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance. Tai Chi is a good example of this kind of exercise.
Have Your Eyes Checked
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year, and be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed.
If you have bifocal or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes these types of lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
Make Your Home Safer
- Get rid of things you could trip over.
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Put railings on both sides of stairs.
- Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs.
For in depth fall prevention guidelines please download the recommendations from the CDC.