Fall Reduction Strategies: How to Lower Your Risk and Live a Productive Life
If you or anyone you know has fallen, let us assure you that you are not alone. As one would expect, falls are usually more prevalent among older adults. In fact, according to National Institute on Aging, more than one in four people who are 65 or older, fall each year or develop fall-related issues. Sadly, many older Americans choose to restrict certain activities, such as walking, jogging, biking, or dancing, just to prevent potential accidents and avoid getting hurt.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
The good news is that the risk of falls can be reduced, as likewise are the problems caused by fall accidents. There are specific steps you can take to reduce risk and enjoy the active, healthy, and productive life you deserve, no matter how old you are.
In order to avert the risk of falling, it is crucial that every older American finds out what causes falls. This way he or she will be better equipped to stay safe while maintaining an active lifestyle.
A Few Things That May Cause Falls among Older Adults
As people age, they typically experience changes in eyesight and hearing that can make them more susceptible to falls. In addition, some ailments and physical conditions may impact their strength, balance, and coordination. Let’s not forget that poor lightning at home can also potentially result in an accident.
As stated by American Family Physician, certain side effects caused by medication can throw older adults off balance and make them unsteady. Some older folks take medication to treat a wide variety of issues – from sleep problems and high blood pressure to diabetes and heart condition, and taking four or more medicines can put them at risk for falling.
Now that we know some of the most common reasons for falling, let’s turn our attention to lowering the risk and staying safe for years to come.
Crucial Steps to Reduce Falls
Make your health a priority: If you are determined to stay healthy and avoid slips, trips, and falls, never skip a doctor’s appointment. Get an annual eye examination and a physical, and check with your physician about any side effects of your medications as fatigue and confusion may potentially result in a fall. In addition, many medical experts urge older individuals to take medications on schedule, maintain proper diet, and limit alcohol intake. Those who smoke may have to say goodbye cigarettes for the sake of their safety and wellbeing.
Get active and get healthy: It is very important to engage in regular exercise, build endurance, and keep your body in good shape. If your doctor gives you the green light, you could benefit significantly from walking, running, gardening, dancing, or/and weight lifting. Of course there are other activities you could consider, such as biking, swimming, climbing stairs, or tai-chi. Remember, the right exercise routine can facilitate agility, flexibility, strength, and coordination, as stated by American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Make sure you have fun exercising which may give you the incentive to stick to your routine and even look forward to the next workout.
Invest in comfortable shoes: Comfortable footwear can help keep you from falling. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is crucial that you wear flat, slip-resistant, and sturdy shoes that fit properly and make walking so much easier and more enjoyable. In fact, the shoes you wear should become part of your fall reduction plan. As stated on the Mayo Clinic’s website, in addition to providing support and comfort, sensible shoes may also reduce joint pain – great way to nail two targets with one stone.
Your loved ones are your saviors: You certainly have an advantage if you have your family members looking out for you and addressing any concerns you may have about feeling dizzy, tired, or unsteady on your feet, while watching carefully for any changes in your balance and providing emotional support. Your loved ones can also help you make your home safer, clear clutter, and notice potential hazards that may result in tripping or falling. You may also want to keep your home brightly lit and get those magazine racks or plant stands out of the way.
According to the Mayo Clinic, falls remain a leading cause of injury among older Americans. That being said, the fear of falls should not rule your life. If you follow the simple suggestions outlined above, you may be able to reduce the risk of falls and improve the quality of your life.
For Osborn residents, an in-home falls assessment can be completed in your residence on campus by our Outpatient Department. If you live in the outside community, Osborn Home Care can conduct an assessment as part of the services they provide. Additionally, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains NY offers a Home Assessment Program and will make recommendations on how to reduce your risks by following certain recommendations. A little planning can help make your home safer and reduce your risk of falling.
Wondering if Home Care is right for you or your loved one? Take our home care assessment quiz.
The information in the above article is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or beginning any exercise program.