Are you worried about falling, or have you recently experienced a fall? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three of older adults, age 65 or older, fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal and fatal injuries often resulting in a visit to the emergency room or a hospitalization. The good news is that there’s something you can do about it!
Falls can happen to older adults for a variety of reasons, and many times falls don’t happen just because of age. Often times there are underlying risk factors that can include intrinsic and extrinsic risks. Extrinsic risks are areas that you have more control over such as lighting, loose rugs, poorly fitted clothing and use of a mobility aid such as a cane or a walker.
What’s the best way to understand your risk? Get a fall risk assessment! Ask your medical care provider for an assessment to determine your risk, then take steps to learn more. Always have your eyes checked regularly, make sure your footwear and clothing is properly fitted and ensure your mobility aid is ergonomic and comfortable to use. Additionally, you can better fall-proof your home by removing floor clutter, installing handrails throughout your home and in the bathroom and replacing loose rugs with a non-slip option.
Don’t forget to exercise! Recent studies show that exercise can reduce falls by up to 35 percent, and if you exercise you are less likely to suffer an injury after a fall. An exercise program should be customized to take into account your specific risks and increase aerobic ability, strength, flexibility and balance. The hardest part of any new routine is getting started. Take that first step and get assessed to determine your risk and reduce the chance of falling. Always consult with your physician before beginning any exercise routine.