You can fall short. You can fall off the radar. You can even fall into the wrong hands. But one thing you should never do is fall in your kitchen … or your bathroom … or well, you get the idea, right? According to the Center for Disease Control, “falls are the leading cause of injury for adults 65 years and older. Over 14 million (1 in 4) older adults report falling every year.” In Louisiana, that number is even higher with a reported 29.4% of older adults (nearly 1 in 3) experiencing a fall. With Active Aging Week just around the corner, Southshore PT encourages you to avoid becoming a statistic by ensuring your personal safety with these tips for preventing a fall.
Take stock with your doc and use dedication with your medication. You may be taking something every day that causes dizziness, drowsiness or brain fog. Or you could be taking two medications that interact with each other to cause these problems. Be sure to discuss everything thoroughly with your primary care physician. Click here for a list of medications associated with a fall risk, and try to refrain from drinking alcohol when taking medication to avoid a very preventable accident.
Think before you drink. Overconsumption of alcohol has been directly linked to an increase in falls and injury for senior citizens. How much is too much? That number is different for everyone based on height and weight, food consumption, medications and age. According to the National Council on Aging, “those who do not take medication and are in good health should limit their total alcohol consumption to no more than seven drinks per week. Additionally, those 65+ should consume no more than three drinks on any given day.”
Use don’ts and dos when you choose your shoes. Don’t choose a pair of clumsy heels, loose fitting sandals or footwear with no traction, all of which can cause you to lose your balance and go down. Do look for a shoe that fits well, provides a sturdy base, fully surrounds the foot and offers secure fasteners. The same rules apply for indoor slippers. Click here for a list what to avoid versus what to seek in a shoe to prevent falls.
Bright light at night keeps you upright. The logic is simple. If you can’t see where you’re going, you’re at a much greater risk of falling. Illuminate your living space by using a bedside lamp before you even get up. Light up your hallways, bathrooms, kitchen and living areas. Nightlights that turn on automatically when the sun goes down are a great addition to the home. Never ascend or descend the stairs in the dark. Carry a flashlight on your person at all times.
A readied home makes it safe to roam. Eliminate laundry, books, boxes, shoes and other clutter from the floors to clear paths from room to room. Do the same for your yard and other exterior areas. Remove tripping hazards like electrical cords and loose rugs (all rugs should be rubber-backed). Augment safety by installing and securing handrails in the bathroom and staircases. Take advantage of technology by using Alexa or some other type of smart home speaker device in the event you need immediate assistance.
The bottom line here is to use these tips for preventing a fall or injury before it even happens by using proactive thinking and practicing safety in all your daily activities. Otherwise, your care could literally fall into someone else’s lap.
(Sorry. I couldn’t resist getting in just one more.)
Michele Robert Poche