September 22, the first day of fall, is appropriately deemed national Falls Prevention Awareness Day, and is dedicated to raising awareness of falls and how to prevent them. As a leading provider of senior housing, Front Porch treats the risk of falling as a very serious public health issue.
No one thinks they are going to fall, but it happens. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. If you slip, trip or fall, it could change your life. You could break a bone, take a trip to the hospital, be injured or develop a disability. Fear of falling may keep you from walking, shopping or taking part in social activities. Overcoming this fear can help you stay active, maintain your physical health and prevent future falls.
The good news is that there are simple ways and free online resources to reduce the risk of falling and help stay falls free. Here are some tips on how to prevent most falls.
Exercise for Balance and Strength
One easy way to prevent a fall is to improve balance and strength. The National Institute on Aging has tips on fitting EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY safely into daily life to help stay healthy as one ages. It also has tips with the right steps to take to PREVENT FALLS AND FRACTURES. Life enrichment and wellness directors offer many programs. Try walking, gardening, tai chi, yoga or whatever you enjoy.
Talk to Your Doctor or Pharmacist
Regularly review your medications and their side effects with your doctor or pharmacist. The National Council on Aging has a FALLS FREE CHECKUP that allows you to check your risk for a fall to help stay independent. Tell your doctor if you have fallen, even if not hurt. Get your vision and hearing tested. Ask a physical therapist about acquiring a walking aid if needed. Vitamin D and calcium can help keep your bones strong.
Make Your Home Safe
Make sure there are no cords, pet toys, loose rugs or excess furniture in your path. Clutter on your floors and around your home can make it more difficult to stay on your feet. CDC STEADI initiative checklist to identify and ELIMINATE FALL HAZARDS in the home. Adequate lighting in hallways makes navigation easier. Ask an occupational therapist about a home safety evaluation. Put in a request to add grab bars for the bathtub, shower and toilet if you think you need them.
Make Smart Choices
Be aware of personal abilities and limitations. Request help from someone for difficult or awkward tasks like retrieving objects on high shelves or carrying large or bulky items. The California Department of Aging’s FALL PREVENTION PROGRAM has fall and injury prevention education and information. Stand up slowly with your feet under you. Wear proper footwear. Don’t drink alcohol to excess.
Educate Yourself Today
Understanding fall risks is the first step to staying safer, reducing the risk of falling and helping stay falls free. Check out the free resources above for practical prevention solutions to do the right exercises, take proper care of yourself, make your home safer and ask for help when you need it.