How To Prevent Falls in the Elderly

As people age, their risk of falling increases. In fact, falling is a serious health concern for the elderly, since older people's bones are more brittle and can break more easily than those of a younger person. While you can't stop yourself from aging, you can take steps to safeguard your house and your environment. In doing so, you can minimize your risk of falling and help to keep yourself healthy and strong.

  1. Become active on a regular basis. By engaging in moderate exercise that is appropriate for your age, you can help improve your strength, maintain your balance and help yourself stay limber.

  • Work with your doctor or pharmacist to determine the side affects of all prescription and over-the-counter medication you take. Some may affect your balance, may make you more tired or cause confusion. All of these things can make you feel less sure on your feet.
  • Is the lighting inside and outside of your home bright enough? If not, correct this problem now so you don't trip.
  • Have your eyes checked regularly. If your vision is deteriorating, make any necessary modifications to help you find the things you need easily in your home.
  • Determine if there are any areas in your home where you are at increased risk for falling and take steps to modify things to improve your safety. For instance, if your bathtub poses a hazard to you, install a grab bar and use a no skid mat. If your front steps are steep, make sure you have a secure railing installed.
  • Walk through your house to see if there are objects or pieces of furniture that could be in your way. If so, move things accordingly. Clear wide paths in your rooms so you can navigate them easily. Move all electrical cords out of your way. Remove area rugs that could be slippery or use no-skid backings wherever possible.
  • Wear no skid shoes that will help you be more sure footed. Weed out any shoes in your closet that have slippery heels and soles. Avoid wearing slippers that are too big and could cause you to slip. Also avoid wearing just socks or stockings without shoes, which could also make you more likely to slip.
  • Keep a bright lamp, the telephone and a flashlight near your bed. Also keep a night light on in your bathroom at all times.
  • Arrange lamps in your house so you can turn them on as soon as you enter a room, rather than having to walk in the dark to access them.
  • Make sure your clothing, food, medication and other essentials are all placed well within reach so you don't have to strain to get them and risk falling.

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