Fall Prevention: How You Can Protect Yourself Inside and Outside Your Home
Dr. Carlos Romero
Every year in the United States, one in four adults over the age of 65 falls. That means that every year, 36 million older adults suffer a fall. Despite falls affecting a large number of older adults, falling is not a normal part of aging. In fact, the majority of falls are preventable when proper safety precautions are put into place. Do not let a fear of falling keep you from doing the activities you enjoy. Below are some tips and advice, so you can keep on your feet and reduce your risk of falling.
Talk To Your Doctor
The most important step you can take to avoid falling is talking to your doctor about your concerns. If you have ever had a fall in the past, let your doctor know the details of the fall such as:
- What time of day it happened
- Where it happened
- What you believed caused you to fall
Even if you have not fallen, speaking with your doctor allows you to proactively reduce your risk of falling.
Keep Your Home Safe
60% of falls happen at home. Improving the safety of your home can greatly reduce your risk of falling. Some of the best ways to fall-proof your home are:
- Keep your home well lit
- Remove clutter from the floor
- Avoid throw rugs and safely secure all rugs to the floor
- Install handrails in the shower and on both sides of the stairs
- Do not wear socks around the house
- Keep everyday items in a place where you can easily access them
- Make sure beds and chair are easy to get in and out of
Another way to ensure safety around the home is to wear a medical alert device that can send an alert when you fall.
Take Precautions Outside the Home
Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine is vital to physical health and mental wellbeing, but it is important to take precautions when doing so. When walking outside, these safeguards can help prevent falling:
- Avoid flip flops and sandals in favor of shoes with a flat heel and rubber sole
- Walk on the grass if the sidewalk appears to be unsafe
- Walk during daylight hours
- Keep your cellphone with you when you walk
- If possible, walk with a friend or family member
Maintain Your Health
One of the best ways you can decrease your falls is by maintaining your health. Staying physically active, eating a balanced diet and getting your scheduled check-ups are key to preventing falls. Other ways to maintain your physical health include:
- Participating in exercise classes designed to improve strength and stability such as Bone Builders
- Stay hydrated to avoid dizziness
- Get your eyes and hearing checked regularly
- Review your prescriptions with your doctor and pharmacist to ensure there are no side effects that put you at risk of falling
Falls are a serious threat to your health. They can lead to fractured and broken bones, resulting in hospitalization and loss of independence. By taking steps to reduce your risks of falling and improving your safety, you can increase your health and wellness, independence and happiness.
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