With today being the First Day of Fall, I found it fitting to blog about Fall Prevention again.
Each year, millions of seniors will experience a bad fall. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls threaten the safety of seniors and their independence. However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Through practical, and very simple, lifestyle adjustments, the number of falls among seniors can be drastically reduced.
1. USE A STEP STOOL
Do not stand on chairs or boxes to reach upper cabinets. Instead, use a sturdy step stool.
2. CLEAN-UP CLUTTER
Remove tripping hazards around your home like rugs, loose flooring, boxes, and papers.
3. INSTALL GRAB BARS AND HANDRAILS
It is essential to have grab bars and handrails in the bathroom, stairwells, and entering your home. Make sure that the grab bars are sturdy and can support your weight. Towel racks are not grab bars!
4. WEAR PROPER CLOTHING
It is important to avoid baggy pants and shoes that don’t fit. Always wear shoes or gripper socks when inside: bare feet are very slippery! On average, 52% of people who fall in their home are barefoot, wearing socks without shoes, or wearing slippers. Backless slippers are the most common cause of falls. Shoes with slippery or worn soles or high heels can cause slips. Wearing proper clothing can save many falls!
5. USE A CANE OR A WALKER
It is very important to use a cane or walker if it is recommended by a physician. You can add a basket or tray on the walker to assist with carrying things. In 2018, 75% of people who fell were not using their cane or walker at the time. Typically, seniors do not use their canes or walkers because they believe it is not needed, they forget to use it, or it makes them feel old. Using your cane or walker can save many falls!
6. USE NON-SLIP RUGS
It is particularly important to use non-slip rugs in the bathroom, entryway, and kitchen. Rugs can be a major tripping hazard when slippery.
It is very important to keep moving. Join an exercise program that aids agility, strength, balance, and coordination. Improved balance and mobility will help prevent falls.
8. USE PROPER LIGHTING
Place night lights around your home and a lamp near your bed. Proper lighting will help increase awareness of surroundings.
9. BE AWARE OF MEDICATION SIDE EFFECTS
Drugs that increase fall risk:
• Antithrombotic agents (aspirin and warfarin)
• Drugs for peptic ulcer and GERD
• Diuretics (Lasix)
• NSAIDs (women only) (Tylenol, Advil)
• Vitamin B12 and folic acid
• Constipation drugs
• Opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone)
• Antidepressants (Zoloft, Lexapro)
• Thyroid hormones (men only)
Please talk with your pharmacist or MD
10. USE EXTRA CAUTION WITH PETS
We love our pets! But they can be dangerous to us! Please watch for:
• Tripping on dog or cat underfoot
• Use extra caution when going downstairs
• Tripping on their toys or dishes
• Chasing a pet that bolts out the door
• Dogs who jump
• Being pulled down while walking your pet on leash
• Keep leash within reach and off the ground