Falls are the leading cause of injury for those ages 65 and older. More than 1/3 of adults over age 65 fall each year. 20-30 % of those people who fall suffer a moderate to severe injury that reduces mobility and independence, also increasing the risk of premature death. The crazy thing is, many of these falls can be avoided.
So today we will identify some risk factors that are associated with falling.Then we will give you some really good tips to help prevent falls in the future…
Fall Risk Factors
It is important to know whether you are at risk or not. If you are at risk, extreme caution should be taken to avoid falls and you need to be aware of the risk. Risk factors include:
- Females – Yup, just being a female is a risk factor
- History of previous falls
- Lower body weakness or balance problems
- Physical limitations (such as weakness, different leg heights, glasses, etc)
- More than one chronic (long-term) disease
- Cognitive impairment
- More than four medications
- Shoes with thick or soft soles
Well, that is great to know… NOW WHAT!?
The good news is there are five simple things you can do to prevent falls today…
1. Begin an exercise program
A physical therapist can help prescribe exercise appropriate for you and your level of fitness.
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2. Have your medications reviewed
Common side effects of medications are dizziness or lightheadedness.
3. Have your vision checked
This one seems like it would be a simple one, but believe it or not, many people do not get new prescriptions filled even though they have trouble seeing. In these cases some individuals may have a tight budget or no means of getting to the eye doctor, however these are
4. Make your living environment safer
– Remove all objects from where you walk to avoid tripping over them
– Keep items you commonly use in easy to reach spots
– Improve lighting and avoid walking around in the dark
– Always wear shoes both inside and outside never wear slippers
– Use handrails
5. Improve Your Balance Using Physical Therapy
One of the things we like to work with our patients on is fall prevention and balance awareness. Many times our patients are at risk for falling and a proper assessment can help identify the main areas of problems. From here we can start to work on those areas: weakness, decreased sensation of feet, balance without looking, etc.
Balance is usually something that can be helped with practice. Falls are dangerous and can lead to long and expensive hospital stays. If you are unsteady on your feet or at risk of falling and you care about your health, take action by scheduling an EXPLORATION VISIT with us. This is a free visit and can help get you on the right track to a well-BALANCED life!