September is Falls Prevention Month. Each year, millions of adults aged 65 and older fall, and falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults. Falls can result in injuries such as hip fractures and head trauma, and can increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a problem that is largely preventable.
Simple Tips to Prevent Falls:
1. Make an appointment with your doctor. Discuss what medications you are taking and consider weaning off of medicines that make you drowsy. Let your doctor know if you have fallen before, and discuss the details of the fall. Also ask if any of your health conditions, such as dizziness or joint pain, can increase your risk of a fall. Your doctor may recommend a home health physical therapist to come out for a falls prevention session.
2. Stay active. Physical activity can go a long way towards fall prevention. Consider activities such as walking or tai chi, or any other gentle exercise that encourages movement. A physical therapy program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait is a great option as well.
3. Wear sensible shoes. High heels, flip flops, and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in stocking feet. Wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with non-skid soles.
4. Remove hazards around the house. Remove clutter, electrical cords, and phone cords from walkways. Make a clear, easy walkway through a room, repair loose flooring, and use nonslip rugs.
5. Lighten up. Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on things that are hard to see. Use a nightlight in the bathroom, and a lamp beside your bed. Turn on lights before using the stairs, and store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.
6. Use assistive devices. Ask your doctor if they recommend a cane or walker to help your walk. Other devices such as hand rails, a raised toilet seat, and grab bars in the shower or tub can help as well.
If you are very concerned about living alone and falling, moving to a retirement community is a great option as well. Many places, like Village Lake Inn, provide 24/7 staff and call bells in case of falls, so someone can come to your aid immediately and possibly prevent a serious injury. Call us today and find out how we can help!