Reducing Fall Risks

Overview

Published: 10/14/2011

Photos

 

Falling is the leading cause of injury for Americans age 65 and older according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Every year approximately 35 to 40 percent of older adult Americans fall at least once.  Over 50% of these falls occur on the home.

 

Injuries caused by falling down can often be prevented by reducing the risk factors that lead to falling.  Preparing yourself and your home to eliminate these factors can lead to a healthier and more enjoyable life.  Here are some tips on how to prevent you and your loved ones from falling.

 

Improve your strength and balance.

  • Start a basic exercise program to increase your strength and flexibility.  This will help increase you stability and balance which is critical for people over 50.  This will also improve your overall health and make you fell better.  Check with your health care provider for a program that is suitable for your age and health condition.

 

Create a safe environment at home.

  • Keep your walking paths free from clutter.  Remove items you might trip over from stairs and other places where you walk.
  • Use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping or pulling up when you walk on them.
  • Keep items you use often within easy reach and use a ladder or step stool to get those items out of reach.
  • Installed grab bars in bathrooms next to your toilet, tub or shower.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
  • Light up your home.  Bright lights will make it easier to see.
  • Install handrails on all stairways and make sure they are well lit.
  • Wear shoes that give good support and have thin non-slip soles.

 

Check your Medications

  • Age can affect the way some medications work in your body, so if you have been taking any over-the-counter medications for awhile, it's important to tell your health care provider. He or she will be able to tell you if the over-the-counter medications are still safe for you to take.
  • Look out for drugs--or combinations of drugs--that have side effects including drowsiness or disorientation. These side effects can increase your risk of falling.
  • This is especially important with over-the-counter cold and flu medications, which can often increase drowsiness.
  • And don't forget herbal remedies. Some remedies increase sleepiness and many react with other types of medication, which could increase your risk of falling down. Be sure to check with your health care provider before trying new medication, especially if you are already taking prescription drugs. And ask your doctor or pharmacist for a complete list of side effects you might expect when taking them.

 

 

Have Your Eyes Checked Regularly

  • Vision problems can increase your chances of falling.
  • You may be wearing the wrong glasses, or have a condition such as glaucoma or cataracts that causes vision problems or limits your vision.
  • To reduce your risk of falling, have your vision checked by an eye doctor every year for early detection and correction of vision problems. If you can’t see something, it’s harder to avoid it, and this increases your risk of falling.

 

If you follow these simple tips you can create a safer environment for your, your spouse and all your guests that come to visit.