Did you know that falling is NOT a normal part of aging? Falling does not have to be part of your aging process. Please continue to read to learn a few pointers on how to prevent falls and what to do if you experience them.
Most falls (80%) occur indoors in your own environment during usual daily activities. Experiencing a fall can greatly increase chances of bone fractures and predisposes seniors to needing assistance with ADLs. Even having a fear of falling can alter your movement pattern which increases your risk of falling.
What can you do to prevent falls and remain confident? Keep reading!
- If appropriate, see an ear/nose/throat (ENT) specialist for proper testing
- If you have a hearing aid, wear it daily
- It’s easier to have a fall if you can’t hear others around you or hear warning signs, “Watch out.”
- See eye doctor regularly and be sure to wear eye glasses daily if appropriate
- Request services from Occupational Therapy if you have special eye diagnosis that warrants low vision training (glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc) to improve safety.
- Visit doctor regularly to manage cardiac conditions including CHF and Orthostatic Hypotension (sudden drop in blood pressure when changing from laying down to standing up).
- Monitoring blood pressure in various positions can reduce fall risk.
- Maintaining proper nutrition and exercise routine is a great way to prevent weakness and maintain strength. The stronger you remain the less risk you have of being injured.
- Continue to manage osteoporosis by getting routine bone scans, exercise and vitamin supplements (calcium and vitamin D) under physician orders.
- BP medications can make you dizzy. Be knowledge of all side effects. Take ALL your medications and vitamin supplements to your doctor EVERY time for review.
- You may be taking 2-4 medications that all have a side effect of dizziness which increases your risk of falling.
- Provide proper lighting in home and use night lights for night time toileting
- Remove clutter and obstacles in your walkway to reduce risk of tripping
- Carpets/Rugs: tape corners down and AVOID throw rugs (especially with rolling walker)
- Showering: use grab bars for support, skid resistant mat and shower chair
- Use of assistive devices: reachers and sock aids are your friend and will make it easier to get dressed. If your balance is not good, please use cane or rolling walker that has been properly fitted.
- Footwear: see podiatrist regularly and always were supportive, skid-resistant soles
What to do if you have a fall?
- Get a life alert to notify help quickly
- Reach out to FOX Rehab team for Physical or Occupational Therapy. Therapy team can complete home safety assessment, evaluate balance and gait, create custom exercise program and assess if current equipment is appropriate.
Again, falling is NOT a normal part of aging. Speak up if this is happening to you! We’re here to help.
Thanks for reading!
Felicia Jones, MS, OTR/L
FOL Rehab Director – Mansions Sandy Springs