Fall prevention can be done. If you are over 65 and think it can’t happen to you, about one-third of the population over the age of 65 falls each year, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age. Here are 7 simple tips to prevent falls:
1. Home is not always the safest option
Staying at home does not reduce the risk of falling. Trip hazards can make an older adult’s home a perfect setting for an accident waiting to happen:
- clutter (that bag of newspapers for the recycling bin next to your favorite armchair)
- rugs with no anti-skid pads
- poor lighting
- no grab bars in the bath
2. Medication management can help with fall prevention
Pay attention to the side effects of some medications. Those for high blood pressure can cause dizziness. The FDA lists common drug interaction warnings for over-the-counter drugs and common prescription drugs.
3. Mobility aids are your friends
If you need a walking aid, use it. Walking aids, such as a walker or a cane, are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve mobility.
4. Take care of those eyes
Have annual eye exams. Diminished vision from cataracts or other vision problems can make it very easy to stumble. Eye exams can help with reducing the risks of falls in older adults.
5. Avoid slipping and sliding
A big factor in preventing falls is wearing good fitting footwear. Loose loafers may feel comfortable but can easily cause a stumble. Avoid slippers without grip soles!
6. Let it go to voicemail
To prevent falls, just skip the calls! Do not run for the phone if a phone is out of reach. Let it go to voicemail. Taking your time getting to the phone will avoid stumbles.
7. Leave ‘the shuffle’ on the dance floor
Those who are afraid of falling tend to begin to shuffle when they walk, not lifting their feet, with the belief that this is safer. Unfortunately, this leads to diminished mobility over time and can lead to a trip over a threshold and a fall.
Falls account for about 25% of all hospital admissions
That is why Laureate Group Senior Communities in Southeastern Wisconsin has partnered with healthcare professionals to develop Laureate Living Strong, an initiative to minimize that risk by increasing strength, flexibility and balance.