Falls are the number one cause of injury for people 65 years and older. In fact, according to the CDC, more than 1 out of 4 older adults fall each year, but less than half report it to their doctor. Although this is a scary statistic, it does not mean that falling is inevitable. In fact, falling is a preventable problem.
What You Can Do to Prevent Falls
You’ve invested in non-slip socks and hallway night lights- a great start! There are more things you can do to protect yourself. Here are 4 simple things that the CDC
(Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends you do to prevent falling:
Have Your Eyes Checked
Have your eyes checked at least once per year and update your glasses. Vision is a key factor in fall prevention, and the risk of falling for people with vision problems is much greater. Remember, eye examinations are not only to check your vision, but to detect eye diseases as well. Eye problems can be gradual and symptomless, so it is important to see a doctor annually to detect any issues as early as possible.
Talk to Your Doctor
Though this may seem like an obvious statement, the importance cannot be over stated. Talk to your doctor and ask to have your risk of falling evaluated. Also, ask your doctor to review any medicines you are taking. Medications affect people differently, and yours may be making you sleepy or dizzy and may increase your risk of falling.
Do Strength and Balance Exercises
Good balance and strength can really reduce the risk of falling by improving your ability to control your body’s position and improve your stability. Consider exercises like water workouts, walking, gentle yoga, or tai chi. These activities will not only improve your balance and strength, but your coordination and flexibility too. If such activities are unavailable to you, try some at home exercises like the ones found here
. And of course, everyone is different, so contact your doctor if you are unsure about doing a particular activity.
Make Your Living Environment Safer
Do a walkthrough of your home to spot any potential hazards. Some hazards are easy to overlook! The CDC and STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) offer a great home fall prevention check list
that you can print off for free. The checklist not only helps you find hazards in your home, but offers solutions as well.