Fall prevention tips for you and your loved ones
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury, illness and death among the elderly population, with around 40% of people over 65 living at home experiencing at least one fall a year.
Fall Prevention Week is September 18-24 and experts say there are easy ways to minimize your chances of landing in the hospital.
"Knowing and addressing key causes is critical to prevention and reducing fall numbers," says Brittany Giacinto, assistant clinical manager at Advocate Condell Medical Center who serves on the Advocate Aurora Health System Falls Committee. "Even thinking before you or your loved one stands and walks can be enough to minimize a fall risk."
Falls can happen because of underlying health issues that often come with aging, like slower reflexes, loss of balance, unstable gait, memory loss, muscle weakness, decreasing vision, blood pressure, osteoporosis and arthritis. One in four older Americans fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the good news is that falls are preventable regardless of age.
Suzie Ryer, a physical therapist and board-certified geriatric clinical specialist with Advocate Aurora Senior Services shares some tips to help reduce your risk of falls:
- Do away with clutter: Remove things that may make you trip.
- Know your medications: Some common medications can make you dizzy or sleepy, so it's important to know the side effects of your medication and talk to your doctor if it's a concern.
- Move your body: Work on flexibility and coordination, both of which can help prevent injuries.
- Focus on footwear: Do your shoes have a good grip? Rubber soles can help keep you from slipping.
- Check your eyes: Make sure to get your annual eye exam and that your prescription is current. Tint-changing lenses can be hazardous when coming inside and going outside, so be sure to let your eyes adjust or consider having two pairs of glasses.
"Falls are not a normal part of aging, and it's never too early to understand your risk factors and take steps to reduce them," concludes Ryer.