Falls are not a normal part of aging!
Each year, 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. It’s important to know that falling is NOT a normal part of aging. Simple changes to your home, management of when and how you take your medications, plus increased exercise to improve strength and balance can reduce your risk. Check out our video to see six top tips to prevent falls and help you stay independent, and check out this document from the National Council on Aging regarding Myths of Older Adult Falls.
1. Exercise will help you improve your balance and strength. Exercises that improve your balance and make your legs stronger reduce your chances of falling. It also helps you feel better and more confident. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chance of falling. Sign up for A Matter of Balance or Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, to improve your strength and mobility.
2. Check your medications. As you get older, the way that medicine works on your body may change. And while medications are very important in helping control many illnesses, they can also have side effects, making you sleepy or dizzy and causing you to fall. Make a list and have your doctor or pharmacist review ALL your medicines, including any over the counter medicines.
3. Have your vision checked at least once a year. Changes to your vision can occur rapidly, so make sure you’re wearing the right strength glasses, and that you don’t have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limit your vision.
4. Make your home safer. About half of all falls happen at home. You can make your home safer by:
- Removing clutter and tripping hazards like throw rugs, papers, books, clothes and shoes from places where you walk
- Coiling or taping cords and wires next to the wall
- Putting railings on all stairs
- Adding grab bars in the bathroom
- Using non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower
- Having good lighting – especially on stairs
- Keeping items you often use in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool
- Wearing shoes inside and outside the house. Avoid slippers or stocking feet.