Taking a Stand to Prevent Falls: Fall Prevention Month

Did you know that something as simple as tripping on a rug or a wet floor can change your life? Especially for older men and women. Tripping can cause you to fall which could lead to a broken bone, and for those who are 65 and older, a broken bone can be the start of much more serious problems, such as a trip to the hospital, injury or even disability. Falls are actually the leading cause of unintentional injuries, injury deaths, and hospital admissions for trauma among older adults. With no coincidence, the first day of the Fall season, September 22, 2022, is observed as Fall Prevention Awareness Day. This year, September 18-24, is Falls Prevention Awareness Week and will seek to raise awareness among older adults, eldercare professionals, and the general public about the seriousness of falls and several ways to reduce the risk.

More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling, and fall related problems, rise with age. Although there are many things that can cause one to fall, some of the most common risk factors include eyesight, hearing, reflexes, balance, medications, and safety hazards in the home or community environment. Even confusion can sometimes lead to falls.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps that can be taken to help prevent falls.

Stay Physically Active. Regular exercise helps to improve muscles and blood flow which in turn makes you stronger. Planning an exercise program, that is right for you, will help keep your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible. Walking or climbing stairs, or other mild weight-bearing activities, will also help slow down natural bone loss you experience as you age.

Check Your Eyes and Ears. Your eyes and ears are not as sharp as they used to be during your younger years. Even the smallest changes in your vision and hearing could cause a fall to happen. Be sure to check your sight and hearing and always remember to wear your glasses when you need them. If you need a hearing aid, be sure to see that it fits well and remember to wear it.

Pay Attention to Side Effects. If you are on any type of medication that may cause you to feel dizzy or tired, be sure to tell your doctor or even the pharmacist. Some medications can increase the risk of falling due to the side effects they may cause, such as dizziness or even confusion. The more medications you take, the more likely you are to experience a fall. So be sure to pay attention to how certain medications make you feel.

Get Enough Sleep. Experiencing sleepiness and fatigue can be a risk factor to falling.

Limit Any Alcohol Consumed. Studies have shown that the rate of hip fractures in older adults increases with alcohol use. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes. As we age, our reflexes are not as quick and experiencing problems with balance and gait…due to muscle weakness…are common.

Stand Up Slowly. Postural hypotension is when your blood pressure drops too much when you get up too quickly from lying down or sitting. This can cause you to feel unstable and eventually could cause you to fall.

Wear the Right Type of Shoes. Non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet. Unsafe footwear can lead to falls. It is important that you do not wear socks or smooth-bottom slippers when walking on stairs or floors, especially hardwood flooring. Instead, wear a stable shoe to protect you from tumbling.

Tell Your Dr. If you have fallen since your last doctor visit, be sure to share that information even if you don’t feel hurt when you fall. Falling may alert your physician to a new medical issue or that something may be off with your medications, or eyesight that can be corrected. You may even be referred to physical therapy, to use a walking aid, or be given any other types of prevention for future falls.

Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. The risks of falling may seem daunting, especially with the natural aging process and all the different risk factors out there but try not to let the fear of falling keep you from living an active life. Staying active and maintaining your physical health will actually work in your favor when aiming to prevent future falls.

If you or someone you know requires assistance with daily living, consider Assisting Hands Home Care. They provide professional and compassionate caregivers who can help with meal preparation, groceries, shopping, and a complete list of home care services. Find our list of locations by visiting https://assistinghands.com/location-list/.

 

 

 

 

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