Four Fall Prevention Strategies to Implement Today
Most of us wouldn’t consider ourselves at risk for falling until we reach our elder years. However, the fact is that our balance begins to decline between 40 and 50 years of age, increasing the likelihood of falling.
According to the National Institute of Aging, more than one in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year. Falls are certainly a threat to the health of older adults, often resulting in hip fractures, cuts, or serious head and brain injuries. The fear of falling becomes common in older adults, especially those who have already fallen.
Because many older adults have a false sense of security in their own home, they are more likely to fall at home, but this doesn’t mean falling is a natural part of the aging process. Many falls can be prevented with a little planning. If you are an older adult and fear falling, here are four fall prevention strategies you can implement today.
Sedentary lifestyles lead to a weakened, deconditioned body. Older adults who live an active lifestyle are less likely to fall. Consider incorporating strength training and balance exercises into your routine. If you’re new to exercise, start by having a conversation with your primary care physician. Discuss which exercise options are best for you and how you should proceed.
Monitor Your Medications
Some side effects of certain medications can contribute to a fall, such as dizziness or drowsiness. If you take multiple medications, drug interactions could also put you at risk for a fall. Have a conversation with your doctor to discuss your medications, including over-the-counter medications or supplements you take on a regular basis. Ask when and how you should take your medications to avoid certain side effects. If you ever experience dizziness or drowsiness due to a medication, inform your doctor.
Be Slow to Stand
Older adults are more likely to experience a drop in their blood pressure when they transition from sitting to standing. This phenomenon is called postural hypotension and is considered a failure of the cardiovascular system to respond appropriately to sudden changes in position. When this occurs, older adults can feel dizzy or even faint, resulting in a fall. Prevent this from happening by giving yourself time to transition between positions. Before you start to walk or get out of bed, pause for a moment and let your body catch up with your movement.
Utilize an Assistive Device
Although many older adults see assistive devices as a sign of their age, an assistive device can help prevent a fall. Have a conversation with your doctor about your need for an assistive device, such as a cane or walker. Your doctor can refer you to a physical therapist, where you can receive a balance assessment. A physical therapist can also help determine which assistive device is most appropriate for your needs and train you to use it properly. Some assistive devices are covered under certain insurance plans, so check with your insurance company before you pay out of pocket for a cane or walker.
Visiting Angels Cape Coral North Fort Myers is committed to educating older adults about ways to reduce falls. For more tips on fall prevention, please download your free copy of our Safe & Steady Fall Prevention Resource Guide. Although most falls can be prevented, we recognized falls happen. If you have recently experienced a fall at home and need help getting back up on your feet, know that we are here to help. Our compassionate caregivers are ready to assist with grooming, light housekeeping, laundry, and more, all while keeping you company while you recuperate. Please contact us today by calling 239-226-1620 to schedule your free consultation.