Are you at risk for a fall? Are you limited in your mobility? Do you tire easily? You may be headed for a fall.
Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall; every 13 seconds an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury. Falls are costly and can cause older adults to lose their independence.
1. Are you physically active? If you’re not, you could be 5 times more likely to have a fall.
Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With your doctor’s OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.
If you avoid physical activity because you’re afraid it will make a fall more likely, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist. The physical therapist can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait.
2. What is your home environment like?
Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.
Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways. Place a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs. Make clear paths to light switches that aren’t near room entrances. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches. Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages. Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways. Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas. Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home. Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away. Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach. Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food. Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Use a bath seat, which allows you to sit while showering.
3. How is your Vision?
Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue
4. What Medications are you taking?
Make a list of your prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements, or bring them with you to the appointment. Your doctor can review your medications for side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling. To help with fall prevention, your doctor may consider weaning you off certain medications that make you tired or affect your thinking, such as sedatives and some types of antidepressants. Take medications only as prescribed.
5. Could your health conditions cause a fall?
Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, shortness of breath, or numbness in your feet and legs when you walk? Your doctor may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.
Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy for you in order to help you gain muscle strength and improve balance and gait.
InTouch Home Care can provide you with physical therapy to help you regain muscle strength and improve both balance and gait. Reduce your risk and fear of falling with InTouch Home Care today. Let your doctor know that you want InTouch. We cover 9 counties throughout the Bay Area. Call InTouch today and see how we can help. 408 650 7110. If for some reason we can’t help you, we’ll find someone who can.