Staying mobile and fall prevention is important for everyone especially older adults! Falls are the leading cause of injury related death among people 65 years and older! And of course a persons risk of injury and falls increases as they get older. Most older adults over the age of 80 fall at least once a year. So what can be done to prevent falls and injuries??
1. Play it safe! Do not take unnecessary risks! Make changes to support your needs. For example, change your routine when needed. This may mean that you do not carry the laundry down the stairs, you hold a hand rail, use a walker or cane if needed for support, or you do not go out in wet or slippery weather, etc. Make safe and smart choices! If needed install assistive devices that may help to prevent injures such as grab bars, a sturdy shower chair, hand rails, a raised toilet seat, etc. Again s the weather changes, remember to watch and stay away from those leaves outside, especially on wet days and of course be careful outside on cold mornings when we have frost or icy paths forming!!! Sometimes areas appear to be wet, but are really iced over. The little things can make a big difference!
2. Ask for help! If you find that specific tasks seems to be more difficult ask for help from a friend, a family member, etc. If you do not have family support contact a care manager to assist in getting additional resources!
3. Declutter! Ensure that you always have a safe and clear walking path and take a less is more approach to your home! Clutter increases the risk of falling and injuries! It also increases stress which can lead to issues too! Watch the cords! Ensure that you do not have any exposed cords that can cause a trip and fall! Use nightlights to brighten the bathroom and walking paths at night! Always have a bedside flashlight for easy access and use! Repair any bubbling carpet or peeling floor boards! Keep your path a safe and smooth one!
4. Keep yourself strong! Do daily exercise at your level- either walking, yoga, chair exercise, pilates, Tai Chi, swimming. Staying active, strong, and work on flexibility and balance as this will help to keep you upright and minimize fall risks! Always consult your physician before beginning an exercise program.
5. Make good clothing and footwear choices! Wear reasonable shoes with non slip soles! Ensure that pants do not drag on the ground. Well fitting shoes and clothing are key to preventing an unnecessary issue!
6. Keep it clean! Keep floors clean and without spills or clutter. This is especially important as the holiday season approaches! All of these things can lead to a fall and /or preventable injury!
7. Have your healthcare provider review your medications. Clearly understand the side effects of any prescription medications that you are taking. If they cause drowsiness, possible sedation, or other issues speak to your physician about potential changes that can be made to better support your needs or obtain home assistance for safety - make necessary and safe modifications to accommodate this.
8. Have your vision checked each year! Visual impairment can lead to falls an injury!
9. Consult a care manager for help as they can guide you through the process, provide support, and obtain resources!