(Adapted from the National Council of the Aging)
Did you know that one in four older Americans falls each year? Falls are the most common cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in people over 65 years of age. Falls can lead to hip fractures, broken bones and head injuries. Even crashes without serious injury can cause anxiety or depression in older adults, making it difficult for them to stay active.
The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented.
Accept that it may happen to you: Many older adults realize that falling is a risk, but they believe it will not happen to them or that they will not get hurt – even if they are already in the past have fallen. Read how to expose the myths of older adults. When falls, dizziness, or balance problems occur, discuss this with health care providers who can estimate their risk and suggest programs or services that might help.
Check the current state of health: Problems with taking medication? Side effects? Is it harder to do things that used to be easy? Take advantage of all of the preventive measures now offered under Medicare, such as: B. the annual wellness visit?
When did you do your last eye exam? that you use the glasses as recommended by the ophthalmologist. Keep in mind that the use of tinted glass can be dangerous if you go from the bright sun to darkened buildings and houses. A simple strategy is to change or stop the glasses as you enter, until the lenses are adjusted. Bifocals can also be problematic on stairs, so it's important to be careful. If you already have vision problems, contact a visual impairment specialist to find out how to get the most out of your vision.
What is your mobility? If you're clinging to walls, furniture, or someone else If you're walking or having difficulty walking or getting up from a chair, it's time to see a physical therapist (PT). A trained physiotherapist can use physical activity to improve balance, strength and gait. You may need a walking stick or walker. The Pt can give you instructions on how to use these tools. Be sure to follow their advice. Poorly fitting aids can actually increase the risk of falling.
Check Your Medication: Are you having trouble keeping track of medications? Experience side effects? Talk to your doctor and pharmacist and have the medication checked every time you receive a new prescription. Keep in mind that non-prescription medicines that contain sleeping pills ̵
Perform a Safety Assessment: There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. Contact an occupational therapist for professional assistance. Here are some examples:
Lighting: Increase the lighting throughout the house, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. Make sure the lights are available when you get up in the middle of the night.
Stairs: Make sure there are two secure handrails on all stairs.
Bathrooms: Install grab handles in the tub / shower and near the toilet. Make sure they are installed where you actually use them. Consider using a shower chair and hand shower.
For more information about improving home safety, see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) checklist, which is available in multiple languages. NCOA, the Administration on Aging and the CDC are also promoting a range of community-based programs, such as A Matter of Balance, Stepping On and Tai Chi, that help older adults learn how to reduce their risk of falls. Contact your regional agency to find out what's available in your area.