5 Easy Tips to Help Prevent a Fall
Falls are the number one cause of injuries in older adults, leading to broken bones, head injuries, and hospitalizations. But although your risk for falls increases as you get older, falls aren’t a normal part of aging. You can help prevent them with these simple steps.
1. Talk to your primary care doctor.
Less than half of older adults who’ve fallen tell their doctor about it. Be sure to let your doctor know if you’ve fallen and also ask them:
- To evaluate your risk for falling
- If any of your medications might make you dizzy or sleepy. Your doctor should review your over-the-counter medicines and prescription medicines—particularly tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants.
- What you can do to strengthen your bones
2. Do strength and balance exercises.
Try exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance, such as tai chi and yoga. Try these exercise suggestions designed specifically for people ages 65 and older. You can also take free virtual fitness classes offered through Your Blue Store.
3. Have your eyes checked.
It’s a good idea to see an eye doctor at least once a year and to update your eyeglasses if needed. If you have bifocal or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities. Sometimes bifocals can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
4. Wear sensible shoes and use a walker or cane if needed.
Consider the height of the shoes you wear and be sure they have enough traction. If you’ve been advised to use a walker or cane, keep it with you at all times.
5. Make your home safer.
These changes reduce your risk of falls at home:
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs.
- Keep floors free of clutter or wires that you could trip over. Make sure that all carpets and throw rugs are fastened to the floor.
- Put railings on both sides of stairs.
- Keep frequently used items within easy reach. Many falls occur when reaching for overhead items. Rearrange cabinets or drawers for quick access in preparing meals.