More than one in three people age 65 or older falls each year. And the risk of falling rises with age. But fear not, many falls can be prevented. In fact, by making some simple changes in your life and around the house, you can reduce your chances of falling. Follow these six tips – and help yourself stay upright and safe.
6 Tips to Prevent Falls
- Make an appointment with your doctor. Have you fallen in the past year? Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking? Do you worry about falling when you rush to the restroom? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, meet with your primary care physician. Your doctor will evaluate your health and medications, and work with you to develop a fall-prevention strategy.
- Exercise to improve your balance and strength. Exercising can help prevent falls because it can make your muscles stronger and more flexible, improve your balance, and increase endurance. Tai Chi is a good exercise for healthy adults. Walking is great, too. Talk to your doctor about how to keep moving and what types of exercise would fit you best.
- Wear sensible shoes. Stash away those heels, flip flops, and shoes with slick bottoms. And don’t even think about walking around in your stocking feet. Instead, choose to wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes that sport non-skid soles.
- Remove hazards from your home. There are lots of ways to make your home safer. Remove tripping hazards like papers, books, clothes, and shoes from stairs and the places where you walk. Get rid of throw rugs. Repair loose floorboards and carpeting. And if you spill something, clean up right away.
- Brighten up your living space. As we grow older, we need brighter lights to see well. No one wants to trip on objects that are hard to see. You can improve the lighting in your home with night lights, bedside lamps, and strategically placed flashlights. Also consider swapping out traditional switches with ones that illuminate or glow in the dark.
- Be open to assistive devices. Your doctor may recommend a cane or walker to keep you steady. But there are other ways to stay safe, too. Install grab bars in the bathroom and handrails on every staircase. Put nonslip treads on bare wood steps. For extra peace of mind, use a raised toilet seat with armrests and a plastic seat in the shower or tub.
Check out this handy checklist
Ready to find and fix the fall hazards in your home? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together “A Home Fall Checklist for Older Adults.”
You can download it here: https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/STEADI-Brochure-CheckForSafety-508.pdf
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, National Institute On Aging, CDC, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control