Are you worried about falling, or have you recently experienced a fall? Perhaps you have an older family member that you feel is at risk of falling? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three older adults, age 65 or older, fall each year. A common misconception is that falling is a natural part of getting older. But just because falls become more common as we age does not mean that they aren’t preventable.
Here are a few simple ways to help reduce fall risk:
Regular exercise is a key factor in decreasing fall risk. In fact, recent studies show that exercise can reduce falls by up to 35 percent. Keeping up on exercise improves balance, strength, and flexibility; all reducing your chances of falling and suffering a serious injury. The hardest part about beginning an exercise routine is getting started. Just remember that exercising does not need to take place in a gym or even outdoors. A great way to keep in the habit of healthy movements is to incorporate small exercises into your otherwise inactive moments during the day, such a walking around the house during commercial breaks, performing simple tasks outdoors, or choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator. As always, be sure to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise routine.
According to the CDC, four out of every five older adults take at least one prescription medication daily, and more than one third take five or more each day. Side effects from these medications can greatly increase an individual’s fall risk by affecting their reaction time, balance, vision and cognitive function. Every year, and every time a new medication is added to your list, consult with your doctor about possible side effects and interactions with other medications you are taking.
Check Your Environment
Fall-proofing your home is an important step in reducing your fall risk. Throw rugs, liquids, cords, wires, and objects in your pathway can all increase your chances of falling; try your best to remove these items from your frequented routes. Installing handrails throughout your home and in the bathroom can also reduce your risk. According to the CDC, most injuries in the bathroom, around 81 percent, occur because of slips and falls. Installing non-slip surfacing, improving accessibility, and increasing visibility with night lights are also effective steps to take towards preventing falls at home.
Receiving just a single fall intervention could prevent a fall and avert serious injury. Throughout the month of March and April, Prestige Senior Care is offering free fall risk assessments, designed to help determine your risk of falling and create a course for change.
Find a community near you to book your free fall risk assessment today.