How to decrease your risk of falling
Each year, one in three adults age 65 or older falls. Many of those falls will lead to a significant injury – a broken hip, traumatic brain injury, or serious cuts and bruises.
Equally scary, one fall can lead a person to develop a fear of falling, which can lead that person to limit his or her activity, which leads to decreased physical fitness, which leads to – you guessed it – an increased risk of falling.
These easy steps can help reduce the risk of falling:
- Exercise regularly. Find a workout you enjoy – walking, swimming, biking, dancing – so that you stick with it.
- Ask your doctor to review all of your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, to identify medicines that can make you sleepy or dizzy. And be sure to tell the doctor if you have fallen, even if you were not seriously hurt.
- Get screened for osteoporosis, which causes bones to become brittle and break easily. Medication, diet, and exercise can help fight osteoporosis.
- Ensure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D, either from your diet or through supplements.
- Get up slowly after sitting or lying down. Rising too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop and leave you light-headed.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes.
- Use a walking stick, cane, or walker if you need help feeling steady when you walk.
- Wear non-skid shoes indoors and out. Don't walk on stairs or floors in socks or shoes with smooth soles. Never walk on slippery, newly washed floors.
- Always know where your pet is so you don't trip over Spot or Fluffy.
For more on ways to fall-proof your home , view Tips for fall-proofing your home.