by comprehensivept, September 28, 2015
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in every 3 adults ages 65 or older experience a fall. Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults; 2 million are treated in emergency departments for fall related injuries each year. Fear of falling does not have to control your life; here are some simple tips to prevent falls:
- Stay Active: It is extremely important to incorporate physical activity into your day. Falls can be caused by a number of things but are often associated with weak muscles and poor balance. Activities like walking, water aerobics, and/or tai chi are recommended to improve strength, balance, and coordination. (Consult a doctor before starting an exercise routine). If you are afraid to exercise alone speak to your doctor and they can refer you to a physical therapist that can create a personalized exercise program in which you will be closely monitored.
- Footwear: The importance of function over fashion gets lost on many when deciding what shoe to put on in the morning, but in the case of fall prevention function trumps fashion! A study conducted by Dr. Carol Frey, director of the Foot and Ankle Center at Orthopedic Hospital in Los Angeles, found that commonly worn shoes of older people were to blame for some of their falls. Dr. Frey gave the following suggestions when choosing your footwear:
- Never wear shoes with worn outer soles
- Choose a shoe that ties rather than slip on
- Avoid shoes with smooth leather or plastic soles
- Avoid wearing heavy rubber lugs specifically when walking on carpet
When buying a shoe she recommends a walking shoe, which provides the right amount of support and traction.
- Medications: Some medicines can cause dizziness and drowsiness which could lead to a fall. An easy way to reduce your risk of falling due to side effects of your medications is having your doctor evaluate your medicines frequently.
- Home Hazards: As many as half of falls happen at home (CDC). Making your home less hazardous is an easy way to prevent falls.
- Secure loose rugs by using heavy duty double- sided tape
- Make sure there are non- slip mats in your bathtub and shower
- Remove anything that can be easily tripped over (newspaper, dog leash, books, shoes) from high traffic areas
- Install railings on both sides of stairs
- Arrange frequently used items to be within reach
- Improve lighting- with age vision begins to decline, it is important to have bright lighting and thin curtains to prevent glare
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