As the fall season begins, the National Council on Aging (2015) recommends the following six steps to take control of your health and prevent a fall:

1. Exercise. Build strength, balance, and flexibility through exercise and physical activity.

2. Visit a health-care provider. If you are 65 or older, or at risk for falling, ask a health-care professional to assess your risk of falling. Be sure to share whether or not you have fallen or have a fear of falling so they can help you.

3. Manage your medications. Sometimes side effects of medications increase the risk for falling. Take medications as prescribed and be sure to talk to your pharmacist and health-care provider about the medications you are taking.

4. Maintain your vision and hearing annually. Eyes and ears help keep you steady on your feet. Visit health-care professionals at least once a year to be sure your vision, eyeglasses, and hearing are sound or are being treated properly.

5. Check your home for safety regularly. Many falls happen at home! Be sure that your home is well lit, has appropriate railings and grab bars, and that you have removed all tripping hazards such as rugs and clutter.

6. Talk to your family and friends. The greater the number of people on board to prevent falls, means a higher likelihood for everyone to be safer.

Falls are a serious matter. One in four adults age 65 and older fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury and injury-related death. In addition to causing bruises, broken bones, and head injuries, falls threaten a person’s independence, safety, and overall well-being. Just one fall can lead to a fear of falling, which can limit a person’s social and physical activity. The physical, emotional, and financial costs of falls affect not just the victim of the fall, but their family, caregivers, and the community. By following simple steps and safety measures, you can reduce and prevent the risk of falling.

References

NCOA. (2021). Get the facts on falls prevention. Retrieved https://www.ncoa.org/article/get-the-facts-on-falls-prevention

No Falls Kentucky. (2021). Retrievedhttp://www.nofalls.org/

Source: Amy F. Kostelic, Associate Extension Professor, Adult Development and Aging

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