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Sheltering Arms Blog

3 Tips and Tricks to Prevent Falls


Posted on: August 26, 2020 by Jenny Lankford

By: Rebecca Sargeant

Falls can happen quickly and unexpectedly. They can result in bruised pride, or something much worse like a broken hip. According to STEADI (the Center for Disease Control’s Older Adult Fall Prevention program), one in four older adults reported falling. In 2015, 28,000 older adults died from the consequences of a fall. The risk of falling increases as a person ages, however there are three key ways to decrease your chances of falling:

  1. Take simple steps to make your home safer.
  • Remove throw rugs.
  • Have good lighting, especially from the bedroom to the bathroom.
  • Keep floors and stairs free of clutter (e.g. papers, books, shoes).
  • Install sturdy handrails on stairs and grab bars in the bathtub or by the toilet
  • Use a non-slip mat in the bathtub.
  • For additional ideas, look through this home safety checklist.

2. Talk to your doctor.

  • Tell your doctor if you have fallen or feel unsteady when you walk.
  • Ask your doctor to review your medications. Some medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy as a side effect.
  • Inquire about taking a vitamin D supplement to help your bone health.
  • Ask your doctor to check your feet. This is especially important if you have diabetes and are at risk for diabetic neuropathy. Being able to feel the floor with your feet helps you to keep your balance.
  • Keep your eyeglasses and contact prescriptions up to date. Your eye doctor can also screen for conditions like glaucoma or cataracts that decrease your ability to see and can make your balance worse.

3. Make balance and strength exercises a part of your daily routine.

  • Add in regular exercise like a daily walk, tai chi, or strength training.
  • If you are not sure where to start, ask your doctor for a referral to a physical therapist. Physical therapists are trained movement specialists who are experts at identifying why you feel off balance and building a balance and strength exercise program just for you. For more information, watch this short video below.

Modifying your home set-up or talking with your doctor are simple steps, but can pay off big time by preventing a hip fracture or other injury and length hospital stay. A regular exercise routine takes determination to start, but will help you be more mobile, less likely to fall, and more healthy.

As we age, fall prevention becomes more and more important. Our balance isn’t as great, our reaction times are slowed and our bodies just don’t recover like they used to. Learn more about how our Active Aging program can help you prevent a fall!

Take these three steps to allow you to stay active and participate in hobbies you enjoy without worrying about falling. To schedule an evaluation with one of our experts on fall prevention, visit our website or call (804) 764-1000.