Fall Prevention Awareness Day is recognized at the start of the fall weather season. Every second, an adult over the age of 65 falls, and every 12 seconds, one of these adults will be admitted to the emergency room. Everyday, 74 of those people will die due to falling.
Mitra Hashemi, MD, an internal and geriatric physician with Adventist Medical group shares ways to help prevent falls in older adults.
Falls are common in adults over the age of 65 and even more common in those who are elderly. Many of these adults also do not inform their doctors of any fall they took. In 2014, one in four older Americans reported falling. "While some of these falls aren’t that serious, many others can be very serious or even life threatening. It’s important to take precautions to help your loved ones, elderly neighbors or yourself from taking a tumble," says Dr. Hashemi.
Talk with your doctor
Your doctor can evaluate your risk for falls and can give you direction for ways to prevent falls. "If you do happen to fall, let your doctor know, so they can help decide if you should seek further medical attention," explains Dr. Hashemi. It’s also important to tell your doctor how you feel about falling for instance, if you’re scared or if you feel weak or unsteady while walking or standing. They can help suggest ways to help overcome a fear or aides to increase your balance.
One of the best things you can do to prevent a fall is to keep moving. Participate in activities that strengthen your muscles and help with balance. Ask your doctor for recommendations on a program or exercises that are right for you. Exercises like standing with your feet together or on one foot for ten to thirty seconds and going from a sitting to standing position can all assist with your balance.
Get an annual physical
Your annual physical promotes a relationship with your doctor and gives you an opportunity to speak with them about any worries or fears you have not only specific to your health but falls as well.
Keeping up with your medications is important and you can discuss side effects with your doctor. Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can help you figure out if any of your medications may be more prone to cause falls.
Check your home
With the help of a family member or friend, check your home to make sure it is safe. "Aim to keep your floors clutter-free, remove small throw rugs or tape them to the floor, add bars in the bathroom for extra support in case you fall or feel like you’re about to fall, have handrails and lights on all staircases and make sure your home has a lot of light," says Dr. Hashemi.
Taking these steps can help to make your home a safer place so fewer falls can occur.