Fall Prevention

“Each year more than one in four adults aged 65 and older will fall. This represents 29 million falls,3 million emergency room visits and 800,000 hospitalizations

Falls and accidents seldom “just happen.” The more you take care of your overall health and well-being, the more likely you’ll be to lower your chances of falling. Here are a few hints:

  • Talk with your doctor and plan an exercise program that is right for you. Regular exercise helps keep you strong and improves muscle tone. It also helps keep your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible.
  • Have your vision and hearing tested often. Even small changes in sight and hearing can make you less stable.
  • Find out about the possible side effects of medicines you take. Some medicines may affect your coordination and/or balance.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Even a small amount can affect your balance and reflexes.
  • Always stand up slowly after eating, lying down, or resting. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop, which can make you feel faint.
  • Don’t let your home get too cold or too hot… it can cause you to become lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Using a cane, walking stick, or walker can help you feel steadier when you walk. This is very important when you’re walking in areas you don’t know well or in places where the walkways are uneven.
  • Wear rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes that fully support your feet. Wearing only socks or shoes with smooth soles on stairs or waxed floors can be unsafe.
  • Hold handrails when using the stairs. If you must carry something while going up or down, hold it in one hand and use the handrail with the other.

Source: National Institute on Aging

You can help prevent falls by making changes to unsafe areas in your home with these home safety tips.

In stairways, hallways, and pathways:

  • Make sure there is good lighting with light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Keep areas where you walk tidy.
  • Check that all carpets are pressed firmly to the floor, so they won’t slip. Put no-slip strips on tile and wooden floors. You can buy these strips at the hardware store.
  • Have handrails on both sides of all stairs from top to bottom, and be sure they’re tightly fastened.

In bathrooms and powder rooms:

  • Mount grab bars near toilets and on both the inside and outside of your tub and shower.
  • Place non-skid mats, strips, or carpet on all surfaces that may get wet.
  • Keep night lights on.
  • In your bedroom: Put night lights and light switches close to your bed.
  • Keep your telephone near your bed.

In other living areas:

  • Keep electric cords and telephone wires near walls and away from walking paths.
  • Tack down all carpets and area rugs firmly to the floor.
  • Arrange your furniture (i.e. low coffee tables) and other objects so they are not in your way when you walk.
  • Make sure your sofas and chairs are a good height for you, so that you can get into and out of them easily.

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