Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults, and there are many factors that can play into when and why a person may fall. It is important to identify why a person fell and ways to prevent future falls.
Once a person has fallen, even if they do not get hurt, there is often a fear of falling again. This fear often translates into limiting exercise and reducing everyday activities in hopes to avoid future falls.
What has placed you at risk for falling? Can those factors be identified? Visiting a doctor to discuss and evaluate your health is a key first step. It could be medicines affecting balance and ability to focus; a change in vision or many other health changes.
In addition to visiting your doctor, below are a few preventative measures to consider:
1) Wear comfortable footwear with non-slip soles. Are the soles of your shoes slick or smooth and need to be replaced with non-slip soles? Are you wearing sandals that your feet can easily slip out of?
2) Add or use more lighting in your home. With dim lighting, you may not see possible hazards in your way. Make sure a light is within reach of your bed so that you can turn it on prior to getting up during the night.
3) Remove possible hazards in your home. Move items that you could trip over, and ensure your rugs are firmly in place to help avoid slipping or tripping when walking too quickly. Replace bath mats with nonslip mats.
4) Don’t stop moving. Strength and balance exercises keep your muscles strong, increasing balance and lower body strength. If you enjoy walking, it is a great exercise to get your blood flowing and give you more energy and strength. If walking is not an option, low-impact activities such as stretching and tai chi are very beneficial.
5) Use assistive devices. Consider grab bars in the bathroom and rails on both sides of staircases. You may also consider a cane or a walker.