Falls can cause injury and concern, take steps to decrease your risk.
Three million older adults will require hospitalization because of a fall each year and two out of three people who fell will fall again within six months. The fear of falling leads to decreased mobility, limited function, and altered social interaction—all of which are factors to additional falls.
According to Udayasena Dendi, MD, Medical Director of Hospitalist Medicine at MelroseWakefield Hospital, there are a number of reasons why people have serious falls, but whether they are related to some sort of balance or ambulatory dysfunction, there are ways to decrease the risks of falling.
“Falls prevention is a team effort,” said Dr. Dendi. “Work closely with your physician, your family, and any visiting nurses or home health aides, and follow the tips below to stay safe and healthy!”
- Get your vision checked: Improper eyewear and decline in vision due to cataracts or glaucoma can lead to falls.
- Discuss medications with your doctor: Multiple medications, even over-the-counter medications, can have possible side effects or drug interactions that can cause increased fall risk.
- Learn about osteoporosis risk factors: Increase calcium and vitamin D in your diet or via supplements. Weight-bearing exercises can help to promote bone growth.
- Eliminate household hazards: Rugs, poor lighting, lack of proper handrails on stairs, and lack of grab bars/raised toilet/shower chair can increase your fall risk. Leave a small night light on in both the bedroom and bathroom to assist with safety when getting up in the middle of the night. Also, speak with your physician to see if you should explore using a medical alert service.
- Focus on balance and strength training: Try standing leg exercises at the kitchen counter, yoga, Tai Chi, or even seated exercises. Practice standing up from a seated position without using your hands. Go for a walk with friends or family!
MelroseWakefield Hospital also offers health care education programs aimed at fall prevention, including Aging in Balance.
Tufts Medicine Formerly Wellforce