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July 21, 2015

Immunize Yourself Against Falling

Immunize Yourself Against Falling

Falls account for over 70 percent of ER visits for older adults and, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC), are the leading cause of injury in the elderly. Every year, one in three adults age 65 or older falls. And, as we age, both the risk of falling and the negative impact on health increases – seniors are much more likely than their younger counterparts to experience a hip fracture or traumatic brain injury after a fall. Fortunately, many falls are preventable. Here are some tips to help you or a loved to avoid falls.

Exercise

Exercise can provide numerous benefits: squats, leg extensions and toe stands can strengthen the legs, providing more support when walking; exercises such as tai chi can help improve balance; and walking can improve strength, balance and endurance. Be sure to check with your physician before starting and exercise routine. If you experience any pain, dizziness or trouble breathing during or after exercise, talk with a doctor, nurse or physical therapist.

Fall-proof your home

Nearly 50 percent of all falls happen in the home. You can help reduce the risk by taking some steps to make the home safer.

  • Install handrails in the bathroom, a particularly risky place for falls
  • Put nonskid flooring throughout the house
  • Remove clutter and add nightlights

Check your medications

Many medications have side effects, which can include dizziness or drowsiness, which can increase your chance of falling. Overmedication is also a problem common in seniors. Do a “medication checkup” with your doctor or pharmacist on a regular basis to see if there are alternate medications you can take and to ensure the drugs you’re taking are causing problematic interactions.

Check your vision

Poor vision increases the likelihood of a fall. Visit your ophthalmologist for a vision test and to check if there are any other issues, like glaucoma or cataracts, that may be causing your problems.

Get some help

Many falls occur while people are reaching to put away groceries, scrubbing away a stain high on the wall, walking the dog, or even bathing. Consider hiring a home care professional to assist you with daily activities that put you at greater risk of falling. 

Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2015, IlluminAge.   



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