Seniors: 4 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Falls - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on August 17, 2016

Seniors: 4 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Falls

Reduce Fall Risk

Crozer-Keystone's Senior Support Line is
available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Call1-800-CKHS-KEY (800-254-7539).

As a senior, you’re at an increased risk of falling and suffering long-term consequences. Falls can cause injuries ranging from hip fracture to head injuries, potentially impacting your overall health and threatening your independence.

One in three adults age 65 and older falls each year, with 2 million receiving treatment in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. However, just because you’re a senior doesn’t mean falling is an inevitable part of the aging process.

Here’s how you can be proactive about reducing your risk of falling.

1. Exercise

Don’t avoid physical activity because you’re afraid it will make you more prone to falling. Avoiding exercise altogether can lead to weak legs, actually increasing your chance of a fall.

Exercise and physical activity can actually help you prevent a fall by improving strength, coordination, flexibility and balance. With your doctor’s approval, consider walking, tai chi, swimming, water workouts and any gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful movements.

Your doctor also may recommend a monitored exercise program or refer you to a physical therapist, who can create a custom program for you focused on your muscle strength, gait, balance and flexibility.

2. Keep Your Vision Sharp

Unfortunately, the natural aging process does impact your vision. If you have poor vision, it can make it harder for you to get around safely or see tripping hazards. Be sure to have your eyes checked every year. Make sure you’re wearing glasses or contacts with the correct prescription strength to help you see clearly.

3. Mind Your Medications

Some medications, or a combination of medicines, have potential side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness, which can make falling more likely. Make a list of all of your prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines and supplements for your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to review them for side effects of potential interactions that could increase your risk of falling.

If that’s the case, your doctor may wean you off of certain medications or switch prescriptions to help you prevent a fall.

4. Remove Potential Tripping Hazards

About half of falls occur at home. You can reduce your risk by checking your home for any potential fall hazards. Remove anything you could trip over in walkways and stairs, such as electrical cords, books, boxes, newspapers, and shoes. If you have any loose rugs, secure them with double-sided tape, or remove them completely. Get any loose carpeting and floorboards repaired. Keep items stored within easy reach without having to use a step stool.

In your bathroom, install grab bars inside or next to the shower or tub and use non-slip mats.

Improve the lighting in your home too – as you get older, you may need brighter lights to see well. That may mean placing night lights in your bathroom, bedroom and hallways, putting a lamp within reach of your bed if you need to get up while it’s still dark out, and swapping traditional light switches for ones that glow in the dark or are illuminated. And make sure you turn the lights on before going up or down your stairs.

Crozer-Keystone Senior Care

While offering the same services provided in a traditional primary care setting, Crozer-Keystone's board-certified geriatricians are experts in meeting the healthcare needs and goals of seniors. They can address issues and situations unique to the more mature patient – from health maintenance to managing multiple chronic health issues.

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