For those living independently, the risk of falling is a well-known problem. Statistics show that one out of every three adults age 65 and older falls each year. However, like many things, there is no single cause of falls – only risk factors. Each of these factors add up and increase the chances that you or a loved one might suffer from an unexpected fall. That is why all seniors should have a fall prevention plan.
Here are four ways to decrease common risk factors and increase fall prevention.
Fall Prevention Tip #1: Stay Physically Active
Not only does a strong and healthy body help prevent falls, it also helps with the recovery. Unfortunately, statistics over the years have shown that older adults do not exercise regularly – 35 percent of elders do not have routine leisure physical activity as part of their lives. Take walks and find ways to stay active because keeping those muscles strong is key to any fall prevention program.
Fall Prevention Tip #2: Remove Environmental Hazards
Statistics have shown that environmental hazards are involved in at least one-third of falls in the elderly population. If you or your loved one lives independently, it is time to take a look at their environment and identify possible hazards. Start by moving tables and other pieces of furniture out of the way of high-traffic areas. The more open space the better! The next step is to tidy up kitchen and bathroom areas so that necessities are closer within reach and tripping is minimized. Lastly, make sure the outsides of the house are clear of slippery surfaces and handrails are installed in as many places as possible.
Fall Prevention Tip #3: Keep Your Vision In Check
Another risk factor for the elderly can be poor vision. As we get older, our vision is one of the first things that goes. Up to date lens prescriptions will help with depth perception and prevent falls from occurring. Some simple things you can do to brighten up your living space is always keep a lamp within reaching distance of the bed, make sure to turn on all the lights when you enter a room, and double check that all your bulbs are working. Highly contrasting colors can also help with vision as well, so make sure to use these colors to mark trickier places like the bottoms of staircases.
Fall Prevention Tip #4: Manage your medications
Although one out of every three adults age 65 and older falls each year, less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it. This is a big problem! Changes in medications or certain combinations of medications can have a large impact on balance, physical health, and depth perception. Talk to a doctor about ways to manage medications in a way that will help prevent falls and get his or her expert advice on how to lifestyle adjustments. Getting a steady supply of vitamin D and calcium will help build strong bones to fight osteoporosis. Doctors know their patients situations and will be able to offer advice on medications that are compatible to individuals needs. With a doctor’s help, fall prevention can be an attainable goal!
What fall prevention tips do you have to share? Share your experiences in the comments below: