Seniors fall for a variety of reasons. Walking down the icy driveway in the winter, for example, or a foot slipping off the curb can cause a fall. Perhaps they are experiencing muscle loss which leads to balance issues and reduced strength, poor eyesight, or feeling dizzy and weak from certain medications. Maybe they recently suffered a stroke.
Whatever the reason may be, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people aged 65 and older. But there are some measures that can be taken to help prevent these types of falls and accidents.
Elderly Fall Prevention Tips
Accidents can occur any time, but by taking some extra precautions, preventing falls in the elderly is possible. A few things to keep in mind for elderly fall prevention include:
- Maintain regular doctor appointments. By getting your eyesight and hearing checked at least once per year, you can help reduce your risk of falling. You need to be able to see objects in your path that could cause you to lose your balance, after all. Anytime you notice a change in your vision or hearing, make an appointment to see your doctor.
- Take care of your health. Along with seeing your doctor regularly, take care of yourself in between appointments by keeping your bones strong. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet, and pay attention to when you’re feeling ill. If you are weak from illness, don’t try to walk around as much. Also, drink plenty of water, especially during warm weather.
- Learn about medication side effects. Seniors are usually on a variety of medications, some of which could have side effects that affect your balance. Talk to your doctor to get informed about the medications you’re taking, especially if you’re taking a combination of medicines.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity is important to prevent falls in the elderly. There are many exercises that are safe for seniors that can help improve your balance, flexibility and muscle strength.
- Safeguard your home or living space. Take a look around your home and note possible things that could cause you to trip or fall, like area rugs, cords, or doorway thresholds. Try to keep your home as clear of clutter as possible and keep it well lit. Install sturdy railings on the stairways and grab bars in the tub or shower.
- Invest in proper footwear. Always wear shoes that fit well and provide good support. Shoes should also have non-skid soles. Avoid high-heeled or slippery shoes and floppy slippers, as well as walking around the house in stocking feet.
- Be ready in case of an emergency. If you live alone, have a plan ready should an emergency situation arise. You can either invest in an alert device or carry a cordless phone or cell phone on your person at all times. Check in with a friend or family member daily so they know to be alarmed if you miss your scheduled call.
Being afraid of falling shouldn’t allow you to miss out on life. By having a better understanding of how to prevent falls in the elderly, you can help reduce your risk and live life as accident-free as possible.