Did you know that falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among persons 65 years and older? According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, 28.7% of older adults reported falling at least once in the preceding 12 months, resulting in an estimated 29.0 million falls.
Depending on how a senior lands when they fall, they could experience anything from a broken hip to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Fractured bones and soft tissue injuries are the most common injuries.
Many seniors have a fear of falling so they drop out of activities they once enjoyed and spend more time at home.
Thankfully there are some steps you can take to help prevent falls.
Plan an Exercise Program
Staying active keeps muscles and bones strong and joints and ligaments flexible. Easy weight-bearing activities such as walking or climbing stairs may delay bone loss from osteoporosis.
Schedule Eye and Hearing Tests
You may be pinched for cash, but most insurance companies will provide at least part of the charges for these two tests.
It’s important to detect any changes in sight and hearing that may cause you to fall. When your eyeglasses or contact lenses are ready for pick-up take time to get used to them.
It can be tempting to want to take your hearing aid out when you are home, but wear it when you need it and make sure it fits well.
Monitor Side Effects with Prescriptions
I was taking a muscle relaxer and it made me dizzy. I briefly blacked out and even fell on the floor and carpet a few times.
Go over your list of medications with your doctor and discuss how you can prevent side effects.
Stand Up Slowly
If you stand up too quickly your blood pressure drops and you may feel like you are going to fall. Take your time and be safe.
Use Appropriate Assistive Devices
If you are unsteady on your feet, you may need a cane or walker. Make sure that it fits well and the wheels move smoothly. These assistive aids will help you when you’re walking in unfamiliar areas or on an uneven walkway.
Wear Supportive Shoes
Supportive shoes should have a low heel and non-skid soles. Don’t walk on stairs or floors with house slippers with a smooth sole or wear only socks.
Purchase an Emergency Response System
You have probably seen the commercials where someone falls and can’t get up. The way this system works is that you wear a special necklace or bracelet which has a button that you can push to call for help.
Your emergency response system may also allow you to call if you fall outside the home.
Don’t be afraid of falling and concentrate on steps you can take to prevent falls. Remember you’re worth it!