One in three senior citizens will experience a fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of injuries among seniors – both fatal and nonfatal. Each year, more than 2.5 million seniors are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Seniors and their caregivers can help decrease these numbers with proper planning.
Seven Steps to Fall Prevention
1. Stay Balanced
We tend to lose our ability to balance as we age. Our muscles and joints stiffen or become weak. Daily stretching and balance exercises can help you keep steady footing for longer. Here are a few low impact suggestions:
- Tai Chi
- Qi Gong
2. Check Your Vision
Vision is directly related to our ability to balance. Have your vision checked at least once every year.
3. Be Aware of Medication Side Effects
Some medications or combinations of medicines can cause dizziness, leading to falls. Review all the side effects of the drugs you’re prescribed with your doctor or pharmacist. Ask them what changes can be made to decrease negative interactions and side effects.
4. Health Education
Educate yourself and your caregiver on your health conditions. For example, low blood pressure or low blood sugar can cause light-headedness, leading to falls.
5. Decrease Clutter
Be sure paths to the main areas of the home are easily passable. Remove items around your home that might cause you to stumble:
- Throw Rugs
- Low Plants or Tables
- Extension Cords
6. Let There Be Light
Is there enough light to allow you to move about safely? Install brighter bulbs if needed, or more light sources. An easy to reach light source close to your bed and in the bathroom will help you avoid stumbling in the dark.
7. Decrease Your Reach
Items and appliances that are used often should be moved within easy reach. Apply this concept to all rooms of the house – not just the kitchen.
Use our FREE room-by-room fall prevention checklist to fall-proof your home.