Fall Prevention: 5 Things you can do to reduce your risk of falls - in the home and the community
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. According to the CDC, one in three Americans aged 65+ falls every year. 60% of fatal falls occur in the home. Locally, falls account for 72% of all injury hospitalizations for adults age 60 and older - and only 22% of those hospitalized return home.
Get Active: Increasing your strength, mobility, flexibility and balance will help you reduce fall risks associated with these deficits and improve your energy and independence. If you are new to exercising, make sure you get the OK from your doctor and start with low intensity and progress as you are able. Layer in resistance exercises if you are already doing aerobic exercise such as walking or biking.
Review Medications: Meet with your doctor at least yearly to go over medications you are taking to make sure they are necessary. Fill prescriptions at the same pharmacy so the pharmacist can catch medications that might have interactions. Be aware of medication side effects and plan around them. Notify your doctor of any unexpected side effects. Let your doctor or pharmacist know of any supplements you are taking in case there might be an interaction with a medication.
Home Safety: Secure or remove throw rugs and trip hazards such as cords, clutter, and pet toys. Clean up spills right away. Make sure furniture is not so low that it is difficult to get out of. Consider a lift chair and grab bars or adaptive equipment in the bathroom. If you have stairs, make sure there are sturdy railings and there is no fraying or loose carpet. Make sure lighting is adequate in all areas of the house.
Get your Vision Checked: Have an eye doctor check your vision yearly or more frequently if you have vision problems due to Diabetes, Macular Degeneration or Glaucoma. Vision issues can cause difficulty with balance, make it challenging to see obstacles in your path, and can make it hard to judge how far something is from you.
Minimize Distractions: This is important at home and in the community! I see so many people step off a curb unexpectedly or cross the street while looking at their phones - and many fall because of it. Be aware of your surroundings and anticipate changes in surface or elevation. Have your phone on or near you so you don’t have to run to answer it, or, if you do fall, you can call for help.
If you have any questions about our home safety assessments, please contact us.