Fall Prevention Tips for Older Adults
Falling is a serious problem among our senior population. One in three adults over 65 falls each year, resulting in more than 700,000 hospitalizations due to associated injuries, from hip fractures to brain trauma. But falling is not inevitable: There many things seniors can do to lower their risk of falling, from addressing health issues to implementing safety measures at home.
Factors that increase a person’s risk of falling include:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty with balance and/or walking
- Chronic health conditions
- Vision changes
- Loss of sensation in the feet
- Being on more than four medications
- Alcohol use
- Home and environmental hazards
- Low blood pressure
- Use of an assistive device
- Difficulty completing activities of daily living
Here are some tips for seniors to reduce their fall risk:
- Exercise regularly: strength improves balance and coordination.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about medicines that make you dizzy or sleepy to see if any adjustments should be made.
- Get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
- Wear sturdy shoes with thin, non-slip soles.
- Use a personal emergency alert system.
- Have regular vision screenings and wear corrective lens as prescribed.
There are also many modifications seniors can make at home to improve safety, from removing rugs or fastening the edges to the floor to using non-slip mats in the tub or shower and installing grab bars in the bathroom. Click here for additional tips.
A physical therapist also can help older adults lower their risk of falls by reviewing their medical history, completing an evaluation and developing an individualized treatment program to improve strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and mobility. A physical therapist can will make recommendations for assistive devices, such as a walker or cane, if appropriate.
To make an appointment with a physical therapist at Good Shepherd or to learn more, contact us.