According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. One-fourth of Americans – aged 65 and older, falls each year, and every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall. Although these statistics are staggering, as well as frightening, they can be prevented. There are many reasons why older people are prone to falls. They could slip stepping into the bathtub, lose their footing on a curb, or get dizzy from their medications. By following the steps below, you or a loved one can take the appropriate actions to prevent a fall from ever happening.
1. Balance is Key: You might want to consider what shoes you are wearing as a part of your fall-prevention plan. Avoid high heels, loose and floppy slippers, and slick soles. All of these can lead to a trip, stumble, or fall. Instead, choose to wear properly fitted shoes that have nonskid soles, and give your feet good support. If you have calluses or corns on your feet that need to be removed, or a sore that just won’t heal, consult your doctor to see if you can get them treated or removed. If you are using a walker or cane, be sure it is fitted correctly and replace the rubber tip whenever it gets worn down.
2. Consult Your Doctor: What medications are you taking? You should make a list of the medications you currently take and bring that with you to your doctor appointments. Your doctor can consult this list and see if there is anything that has sides effects that may lead to a greater risk of falling. Have you fallen before? If so, record the incident in detail. Write down when, where and how it happened. These certain specifics can help your doctor figure out fall prevention techniques for you. It’s also important to know that certain eye and ear disorders can increase your risk of falling.
3. Stay Physically Active: Let’s get physical! When it comes to preventing a fall, exercise can go a long way. If approved by your doctor, try different balance exercises such as tai chi, walking, standing on one foot, and water aerobics. These activities can improve your strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility, all which can help prevent a fall. If you feel nervous about exercising because you’re afraid it will cause a fall, talk to a physical therapist. They can construct certain physical activities specifically for you, aimed at improving muscle strength, balance, and flexibility.
4. Stay Safe When Bathing: It is common for people to slip and fall when taking a bath or shower. Some proven ways to prevent this are installing grab handles and nonskid mats in your shower or bath. Try using a hand-held shower head. Additional measures for bathroom safety are bath benches or chairs in the shower or next to the tub. When you get into the tub, put your weaker leg in first and get out of the shower with your strong side first. All these steps can help prevent a fall when bathing.
At Arthur Home, we care about you and your safety. That is why we provide a variety of services and amenities which can help prevent a fall. We have multiple skilled physicians, including a physical therapist, who can help correct strength and balance problems that may have made it difficult to walk or get on and off the bed, toilet or furniture. We also offer an assortment of personal care services, such as bathing, making sure you get in and out of the bath safely.
Come put your best foot forward at Arthur Home!