Each September, we recognize Falls Prevention Week to raise awareness of the impact of falls. The good news is that most falls are preventable. Tx:Team’s Teaming Up Against Falls Program incorporates the components of the Otago Exercise Program including balance, strength, flexibility, vestibular, and proprioception evaluation and treatment to tackle balance issues and help prevent falls.
According to HealthyAging.org:
- Falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults. One out of five falls result in a significant injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year, three million older adults go to the emergency room because of falls. Over 800,000 need to go into the hospital.
- Older women are twice as likely to fall and break a bone as older men. Men have a higher risk of dying after a fall.
What can I do to decrease my risk of falling?
- 75% of falls occur in the home. You can decrease your chance of falling by keeping your home safe for you to move around.
- Make sure you have good lighting in every room. Include night lights in your bedroom, hallways, and bathrooms.
- Rugs should be firmly fastened to the ground, especially at the corners. Electrical cords should be kept off the walking areas.
- Add handrails to your bathrooms for support for your bath, shower, and toilet use.
- Always use the rails on stairs on both sides and ensure that each stair is well lit or has a visual cue.
- Wear shoes with firm, nonskid, non-friction soles. Avoid wearing loose slippers that could cause you to trip.
- Keep kitchen items within easy reach to avoid using step stools.
- Place the bed at a proper height to allow for feet to be flat on floor while sitting at bedside.
Taking good care of your body will also keep you strong, mobile, and more independent.
- See your eye doctor once a year.
- Care for your feet and see a doctor if you have pain or corns.
- Use assistive devices if they are recommended to you.
- Sit on the bed for a few minutes before getting up to go to the bathroom at night. This will prevent dizziness in the dark.
If you notice that you may have some trouble with your balance or mobility in general, talk to a physical therapist and find out how they can help you to stay on your feet and prevent falls.