Every year one in three adults, aged 65 or older, has a fall. Less than half may talk to their health care provider about their fall. Understanding why falls occur, creating a safe home environment and staying active are critical to staying safe.
There are many reasons why falls occur, including side effects from medications or accidentally skipping a dose. Chronic health conditions, limited vision, low blood pressure and dementia (can cause dizziness) can also lead to falls. One of the most overlooked strategies in fall prevention is medication management. Review your medications with your doctor or home health nurse. The combination and time in which certain medications are taken may help alleviate side effects which can put you ask risk for a fall. Additionally, being organized is critical so you take the exact doses prescribed. There are weekly and monthly pill organizers with pockets for morning, noon and night doses.
Another strategy in fall prevention is maintaining a safe home environment. Identifying problematic areas and making small modifications can be very helpful. Here are some common tips:
- Illuminate dark hallways or pathways with nightlights
- Install grab bars for safely entering and exiting the bathtub/shower
- Remove throw rugs
- Tape cords and wires so they are out of the way
- Keep frequently used kitchen items on lower shelves
- Keep eye glasses close to your bed
Fall prevention includes keeping active. Exercise such as walking, yoga, gardening, swimming and riding a bicycle incorporates elements of balance, gait and strength training. There are many options for individuals who have limited mobility. Building strength and endurance has been shown to reduce the incidence of falls. Always talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.