Take a Stand to Prevent Falls
Each year, more than one out of every four people over the age of 65 will fall. Falls account for 3 million emergency room visits, 800,000 hospitalizations, and 28,000 deaths every year. What is alarming is less than half of the people over age 65 who fall tell their personal doctor.
One out of five falls cause serious trauma such as a broken bone or head injury. Since most falls don’t cause harm, many people don’t discuss them with their personal doctor. However, falling once doubles your chance of falling again. Having a discussion with your personal doctor can identify and treat key risk factors, which can ultimately reduce your chances of falling again. Falls among older adults are a serious problem, but the good news is falls can be prevented.
Many conditions and risk factors can be changed or modified to help prevent falls.
- Lower body weakness
- Difficulties with walking and balance
- Use of certain medications
- Vision problems
- Poor footwear
- Home hazards
Here are four simple steps to help prevent falls.
- Talk to your doctor
- Have an open and honest conversation with your personal doctor. Ask him or her to evaluate your falls risk and discuss ways you can prevent falling.
- Ask for a medication review of both prescription and over-the-counter medications. Some medications may increase your risk of falling which is why a regular review is necessary.
- Strength and balance exercises
- Participating in exercises that make your legs stronger and improve balance are very beneficial to preventing falls.
- Please discuss exercise options with your personal doctor to determine what exercise program is right for you.
- Have your eyes checked regularly
- Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and be sure to update your glasses if needed.
- Make your home safer
- Get rid of throw rugs, clutter and things you can trip over.
- Install grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and make sure your home has lots of light.
- There are many more home modifications that can prevent falling. To see more ways to make your home safer visit the National Institute on Aging Fall-Proofing Your Home.
For additional information about falls and falls prevention please see the Network Health Fall brochure.