5 Tips: Prevent Falls
Over 50,000 deaths were attributed falls in 2020. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and no-fatal injuries in the over 65 population. Keep yourself out of these statistics by doing the following:
- Attend to your environment. Check rugs, low lighting, and pets (may need to be restrained). Wear well-fitting, low heeled, non-slip shoes both indoors and outdoors.
- Work on strength. Strengthen your leg, hip (gluteal) and calf muscles. These are the muscles you need to catch you fall.
- Better your balance. Your ability to stay upright while moving in paramount. Practice safely in areas where you can catch yourself on furniture, if necessary. You can improve your dynamic balance with tai-chi, walking in a grapevine pattern (one leg crossed in front of the other) changing directions suddenly and walking backwards.
- Review your meds and supplements with pharmacist. 25% of the reported falls were tracked back to medications side effects. Your pharmacist will be able to review what your are taking and see which may be causing instability.
- Check your Eyes and Ears. Age related depth perception changes, color discrimination will affect changes in your vision. Poor hearing poses the problem of a three-fold higher risk of falling. Keep up with eye and hearing screening and wear eyeglasses and hearing aids when prescribed.
BONUS. If you fall. Take inventory: are you in pain, did you hit your head. Once calm if able, get up with support of furniture. If you are in pain and/ or hit your head call for help, if alone call 911. ALWAYS: report any falls to your MD!