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Don’t Fall! Do these things instead to prevent falls

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “falls are the leading cause of injury and death in older Americans.”  An older adult falls every second in the U.S.  This is a growing public health issue due to the daily increase of the aging population.  10.000 Americans turn 65 Every. Single. Day.  These fall statistics are scary.  Of course they cause fear and anxiety on an individual basis for older adults and those that love them.  Luckily, there are many things that you can do to regain some power over your life and to take fall prevention into your own hands.  Below is a list of practical steps that you can take in order to prevent falls.

  • Make a list of your medications

     

  • Be active.

    • There is lots of research showing that participation in many different activities reduces your risk of falling.  Some of these include yoga, dancing, Tai Chi, and simply walking.  If you’ve had a fall in the past then this is particularly important.  Too often after someone has a fall, fear of falling prevents them from wanting to be active.  Inactivity results in decreased strength, balance, and stability and then the person becomes even more likely to fall.  It’s a viscous cycle.

 

 

  • Make sure that you have properly fitting shoes.

    • Avoid floppy or poor fitting slippers or house-shoes that cause you to slide your feet across the floor rather than picking them up.

 

  • Use a walker, cane, or wheelchair.

    • When one of these items is needed and prescribed, medical insurance will sometimes pay for the item.  The basic versions of these items can also be purchased easily from stores such as WalMart or Walgreens or even online.  If you cannot afford this equipment, look at garage sales, local churches, and veterans associations such as the VFW or the American Legion.

 

  • Ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist or occupational therapist.

    • PTs and OTs have advanced training on educating you to set up your home safely, to assess your balance and fall risk, and to teach you how to complete exercises and appropriate balance tasks that are specific to your needs.  Once you’ve been prescribed a home exercise program, you will likely need to continue practicing the exercises at home.  If you cannot perform them safely on your own, ask a friend or family member to help you.  If that is not an option, consider hiring someone to assist you.  Local students in the medical field are good examples of people that may be willing and able to help you for only a small fee.  Click here to learn more about how you can get set up on a physical therapy maintenance program at home.

 

  • Take your time.

    • If you know that you get dizzy/lightheaded or stumble over your feet when you get up quickly, then go slow.  Train yourself not to rush to a ringing phone or doorbell.  Give yourself enough time to get to the bathroom before it becomes an emergency.  Take extra time to stop and settle with each position change.

 

The best news about falls is that most of them can be prevented.  The steps listed above will go a long way to doing that.  I’d also encourage you to sign up for the freebie I’ve attached below.  It will detail 10 things you can do to immediately improve home safety.

 

Click here to subscribe

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