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  • Writer's pictureDJ Shirley

8 Ways to Prevent Falls

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for adults, age 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Issues with mobility, vision, and deteriorating bone density make seniors especially susceptible to falls. You can make changes to protect yourself or a loved one and prevent life altering falls.

  1. Talk to your doctor. During your checkups ask your doctor what risk factors you may have for falling. Make your doctor aware of any problems you are having with balance. Review your medications with your doctor, even over the counter ones, as many medications have side effects of drowsiness and dizziness which can lead to falls.

  2. Exercise your muscles. A sedentary lifestyle leads to poor balance and weak core muscles. Those are the muscles in the abdomen, thighs and hips that help you get up if you do fall. Walking strengthens your muscles and also improves your proprioception. This is the body’s ability to perceive and orient itself in space and motion. If you are unable to walk, start with simple exercises you can do at home to strengthen your core muscles. One simple exercise is to stand up from a sitting position without using your arms to push yourself up. Stand for a few seconds, then repeat the process 5 or 10 times to build those core muscles.

  3. Use a cane or walker. Some people may feel too self-conscious to use a walker or cane. Set aside your vanity and opt to be safe.

  4. Declutter. Remove all area rugs. Clear and remove furniture and other items to create a clear and open pathway

  5. Install Lights and Change Burned out light bulbs. Vision problems can make it more difficult to see where you are going. Install extra lights throughout the house. Change out burned out light bulbs. Make the path to the bathroom well-lit since many seniors have to get up in the middle of the night.

  6. Bathroom Upgrades. Add safety bars near the bathtub, shower and toilet. A towel rack will not hold your weight if you are falling. Put a non-slip mat on the bottom of the tub and shower and make sure it is properly secured. Keep frequently used toiletries in an easy to reach place.

  7. Practice ladder safety. Even young adults can fall from a ladder. If you are unsteady on your feet, hire someone for any job requiring a ladder. If you climb a ladder, ask a family member, friend or neighbor to help you as you climb up and down.

  8. Call for help. Keep a phone nearby or in your pocket at all times. If your risk of falling is high, opt for a medical alert device or a wearable call button. These are very important if you live alone.

If you do fall, check with your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.

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