According to the CDC, one in three adults over the age of 65 fall each year. Of those who fall, 20-30% will have a moderate to severe injury, including laceration, fracture, and traumatic brain injury. While the risks for injury and complication from falls are high, there are ways to reduce those risks. The best medicine in this case is prevention.
Steps for Reducing Fall Risks
Falls are not an inevitable part of the aging process. There are several actions that can reduce the risk of falling:
- Exercising: You don’t have to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger to get your fall risk down! Regular walking, leg strengthening, Ti – Chi, Yoga, or other physician-approved exercises can do wonders to increase balance and stability.
- Checking medications: Some medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, and even herbal supplements can cause reactions. Make sure to discuss all medications both prescription and over the counter with a medical professional.
- Rearranging the house: It is important to look at a house through new eyes when evaluating for home safety. Rugs and runners can trip up feet and walkers, and furniture that encroaches on walking paths can become hazardous. Grab bars and commodes placed in the bathroom can reduce the risk of fall in wet areas. There are professionals that can help suggest safety measures for a home. Reach out to your medical professional; he or she may be able to offer advice and a home evaluation referral.
- Proactively addressing warning signs: Changes in mobility can sometimes be gradual. Using furniture to move, near falls, and reluctance to move are some indications of increased fall risk.
- Procuring proper equipment: If there are changes in mobility it is important to get the proper equipment. Walkers, toilette attachments, shower modifications, and medical alert systems are some of the tools that are available if there is an increased fall risk.
Fall prevention measures are important to preserving mobility and independence. Medical professionals and private companies can offer individual support, and in home evaluations. Increasing personal support through the addition of non-medical home care professionals can also help decrease the risk for fall.