Slipping on the bathroom tile is not pleasant for any person. But for older adults, a fall could likely result in a broken hip, expensive medical care, and long-term recovery. According to the CDC, more than one in four older adults over age 65 years fall each year. When older adults fall, the consequences can be grave. However, most fall-related injuries and deaths are preventable.
If you or a loved one are at risk for falling, here are 6 tips to prevent falling:
6 Tips to Prevent Older Adults from Falling
1. Medication Management
There are many medications (including over-the-counter medications) that have been linked to falls due to their interactions with other medications and their side effects. It’s important to review all your medications with your primary care physician to see if the risks of the medications outweigh the benefits.
2. Regular Exercise
Trouble getting up from a chair or stepping onto a curb might indicate weak leg muscles. Exercise improves balance, strength, and confidence in your physical abilities. By keeping to a regular exercise routine, you will not only build strength, but you will also maintain it for the long-term.
3. Yearly Eye Exam
Poor vision increases your chance of falling. Also, conditions like glaucoma or cataracts can severely limit your vision. Yearly check-ups to update your glasses and to address more serious issues will help prevent unnecessary falls.
4. Home Safety
The place where you spend most of your time can be the source of many tripping hazards. Here are just some precautions you can implement to reduce the potential for fall accidents.
- Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and on the shower floors
- Remove clutter from the floor
- Be sure rugs are nonslip and the edges are stuck to the floor with double-sided tape
- Add handrails in the bathroom and along the staircase
- Be sure your home is well lit
5. Sturdy Footwear
Supportive shoes with a firm sole will prevent you from tripping over minor items and give you more security on your feet.
Pay attention to where you are and where you need to go. Be aware of your environment and do not place yourself in situations that could be hazardous. Know your limitations.
Get Help to Prevent Falling
According to Grant Baldwin, director of the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention at CDC’s Injury Center, advises seniors to ask themselves the following questions:
- Have you fallen in the past year?
- Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
- Do you worry about falling?
If you respond yes to any of the above questions, you are at an increased risk of falling. However, by meeting with your doctor and implementing the tips outlined above, you will be on the road to fall prevention.