Who is at risk of falling?
Anyone can fall, although the risk is higher in the elderly. This increased risk of falling may be the result of changes that come with aging or certain medical conditions.
What can I do to lower my risk of falling?
Most falls happen in the home. Consider the following tips to make your home safe:
• Make sure that you have good lighting in your home. A well lit home will help you avoid tripping over objects that are not easy to see. Put night lights in your bedroom, hallways, stairs and bathrooms.
• Rugs should be firmly fastened to the floor or removed. Loose ends should be tacked down.
• Move furniture to make wide paths for easier movement around your home.
• Put hand rails in your bathroom for bath, shower and toilet use.
• Have rails on both sides of your stairs for support.
• Electrical cords should not be lying on the floor in walking areas.
• Wear shoes with firm nonskid soles. Avoid wearing loose-fitting slippers that could cause you to trip.
• Keep an eye out for small pets that may get under foot and cause you to fall.
What else can I do?
Take good care of your body. Try to stay healthy by following these tips:
• See your eye doctor once a year and get your prescription updated. Don’t forget to always wear your glasses to help you navigate your surroundings.
• Get regular physical activity to keep your bones and muscles strong.
• Take good care of your feet. If you have pain or numbness in your feet, see your doctor.
• Have your doctor or pharmacist review your medications to ensure that there are no harmful drug interactions or side effects that may affect your balance.
• Talk to your doctor if you have dizzy spells.
• If your doctor or physical therapist suggests that you use a cane or a walker to help you walk, be sure to use it. This will give you extra stability when walking and will help you avoid falls.
• Limit alcohol intake as this will affect your balance and reaction time.
• When you get out of bed in the morning or at night to use the bathroom, sit on the side of the bed for a few minutes before standing up. Your blood pressure takes some time to adjust when you sit up. It may be too low if you get up quickly. This can make you dizzy, and you might lose your balance and fall.
• Ask your doctor to refer you to physical therapy if you have fallen or if your balance has worsened.