Children seem to fall down left and right, especially when they’re first learning to walk. Even if they bruise their knees or feel embarrassed, we teach them to get back up again. Unfortunately, this wisdom loses its potency in old age. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors. They can produce hip fractures, head injuries, and broken bones as well as fear and anxiety. Wondering how to prevent falls? The tips below will help you stay on your feet.
How to Prevent Falls
Schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Most falls are caused by health concerns, environmental issues, or a combination of the two. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are concerned that your health is putting you at risk. A general physician can help with side effects from medications, the management of chronic conditions, and unexplained symptoms like dizziness or poor balance. In addition, we encourage you to contact an eye doctor to have your vision checked. You may need to update your prescription or purchase new glasses.
Improve your balance and strength.
If you’re wondering how to prevent falls, start by taking care of yourself. Strength training is especially important, as it stimulates the growth of muscle and bone, which helps prevent frailty and osteoporosis (source). Complete some simple exercises daily to improve your balance and strength. Not only will this reduce your risk of falling, but it will also help you remain healthy, active, and independent. For example, you might try these exercises recommended by the National Institutes for Health (NIH).
Remove hazards and add safety features to your home.
To prevent falls at home, reduce clutter and keep your floors clear. Remove loose carpeting and throw rugs. You could also attach nonskid mats to your rugs to prevent slipping. Next, pin back any electrical cords obstructing your walking path. Finally, you may wish to purchase the following items to reduce your risk of falling at home:
- More lights for dimly lit areas
- Night lights for hallways and bathrooms
- Sturdy handrails on stairs
- Grab rails for bathrooms
- Nonskid mats for bathtubs/showers
- Shower chair or bath bench
- Handheld shower head
- Easily accessible flashlight and replacement batteries
- Skid-proof mats to attach to rugs
- Sturdy stepstool with a handrail and large steps
In addition, when roads and sidewalks are slick, avoid going outside if possible. Toss rock salt or kitty litter on your sidewalk and driveway before the storm if you can.
Dress for success.
Finally, take a look at your closet, especially your shoe collection. If you aren’t careful, your favorite footwear might cause you to slip and fall. When it comes to fall prevention, we also recommend the following fashion advice:
- Wear low-heeled shoes with nonskid soles that fit well.
- Don’t walk around in socks or stockings.
- Select sturdy, closed-heel slippers with nonskid soles
- Wear properly hemmed pants.
- Use a walker or cane if necessary, and check that it suits your stature.
In our sunset years, falls are no laughing matter. Luckily, in a few simple steps you can reduce your risk of falling by improving your health and refining your environment.
If you or a loved one needs help living a healthy, happy life at home, contact Phoenix Home Care. We offer a variety of services, including nursing, therapy, companion care, housekeeping, running errands, shopping, respite care, and emergency babysitting. At our locations throughout Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Illinois, we are committed to improving the quality of life of the people we serve. For more information, please give us a call at 1-855-881-7442 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!