September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month

Published Aug 27, 2017 at 9:00am

Did you know that one out of every four older adults falls each year? Over half of these individuals do not tell their doctor about the fall. One out of every five falls causes a serious injury as well.

Falls can cause injuries such as broken bones — wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures. Head injuries can also occur. Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries among those who are 65 years-old and older. Many of these falls can result in hospitalizations and loss of independence.  

Some conditions increase the chances of a fall:

• Lower body weakness.

• Vitamin D deficiency.

• Difficulties with walking and balance.

• Use of certain medications such as tranquilizers, sedatives, antidepressants, and some over the counter medications.

• Vision problems.

• Chronic health conditions such as arthritis and stroke.

• Foot pain and poor footwear.

• Home hazards such as broken or uneven steps, throw rugs/clutter, dimly lit or dark hallways.

Here are some tips to help prevent falls:

Talk to your doctor. Ask your doctor to review your medications to see if any might make you dizzy, sleepy or more vulnerable to falling.  

Do strength and balance exercises. Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance, such as Tai Chi.

Have your vision checked. You should get your eyes checked at least once a year.

Make your home safer:

• Get rid of things that you could trip over.

• Add a grab bar to your shower and near toilet.

• Make sure there are railings on both sides of stairs.

• Make sure hallways and other parts of your home are well lit. Use night lights and touch lights for areas where there are no lamps or poorer lighting.  

• Do not stand on chairs in place of step stools.

Falls can be devastating to health and well-being, but these can be prevented. Follow this link to a Stay Independent brochure. The brochure was created by the CDC and includes a risk assessment that can be shared with your doctor: www.cdc.gov/STEADI.