Risk of Falls With Age

As we age, falls can become more common and dangerous. These quick tips could help prevent a fall:

  • Stay active and healthy. Being overweight or underweight can increase fall risk. Muscle strengthening – especially in the legs – is important.
  • Know your limits. Use assistive devices if necessary.
  • Wear a medical alert device or keep a cell phone in your pocket (on your person) in case assistance is needed.
  • Eat foods rich in calcium and make sure to hydrate. 6-8 glasses of water each day is recommended, unless otherwise specified by your doctor. You may need more water with increased activity, or when spending time in the heat.

Fall Proof Your Home

  • Put up handles or rails in rooms that are difficult to maneuver, like bathrooms.
  • Use mats and non-slip materials in the bathroom and shower. Use a shower chair or an elevated toilet seat if necessary.
  • Keep rooms clutter free and install good lighting.
  • Watch out for things that can cause you to trip, such as grandkids, pets, rugs, uneven flooring or cords.
  • Use a night light if possible. Before going to bed, make sure nighttime items are in reach. Be familiar with the paths to your bathroom and kitchen. Don’t attempt to navigate through your home in the dark.
  • Wear slippers or nonskid shoes. Avoid walking around in only socks.
  • Wipe up spills quickly.

Beware of Dizziness

  • Standing up too quickly may cause dizziness. Sometimes even bending over can cause a loss of balance.
  • Be aware of intense temperatures. Taking too hot of a shower or becoming overheated from spending time outside may cause dizziness.
  • When first waking up, get up slowly. Sit for a minute before standing all the way up.
  • Look first before sitting down to ensure your destination is stable. If possible, use chairs with armrests. Armrests can help with balance while sitting down or standing up.

Climbing

  • Use a wide based stepstool or ladder.
  • Check the stability of the ladder before climbing.
  • Have someone close by in case assistance is needed.
  • Hold on with both hands. Use railing or handrails if possible.
  • When climbing, wear sturdy, non-slip shoes. Make sure footing is not slick or wet.
  • Don’t climb if you aren’t feeling well, or if you feel lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Never climb on a counter or use a makeshift step stool to obtain items out of reach.
  • Attempt to put belongings at waist to eye level. Avoid putting things up high and out of reach.

Physician Visits and Medications

  • Make sure to see your doctors regularly.
  • Ask your doctor how diseases or illnesses may affect your day-to-day life, and if you should alter your normal routine to compensate. Diabetes is one example. Diabetics have to monitor their blood sugar and diet.
  • Bones become more brittle with age. Talk to your doctor about the need for extra calcium or calcium supplements.
  • Eyesight also changes with age. Regularly visit your eye doctor and use corrective lenses if needed.
  • Discuss your medications with your doctor and understand all potential side effects.
  • When starting a new medication, be aware of your body’s response and changes. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor immediately, so they can alter the medication and dosage appropriately.