Getting older brings a lot of changes. Your sight, hearing, muscle strength, coordination, and reflexes aren’t as strong or sharp as they once were. People who suffer from diabetes or heart disease can have issues with balance. All of these things can make a fall more likely. Even a minor fall can change your life and cause a bone to break or a fracture in a bone.
In addition, having osteoporosis causes bones to thin out and break easier. Osteoporosis is a reason for many broken bones in women that are past menopause and can affect older men as well. Even if you don’t have osteoporosis, as we get older, we need to be extra careful to avoid a fall.
Preventative Steps You Can Take to Avoid a Fall
Most of the time a fall or accident can be prevented. The more time you spend taking care of your overall health and well-being, the lower your chances will be of falling.
- Contact your physician to have a special test called a bone mineral density test that will show how strong your bones are. If you find out that your bones are more fragile, there may be a medication that your doctor can prescribe to help strengthen them.
- Check with your doctor about the side effects of any medication you are currently taking. Certain medications can affect coordination or balance, and if they do then talk to your doctor about how you can prevent a fall or possibly switch to a different medication.
- Come up with an appropriate exercise plan with your doctor. Having regular exercise added to your routine can help keep you strong and strengthen your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Walking daily may slow the rate of bone loss from osteoporosis.
- Have your vision and hearing tested once a year, or more if needed. Even a slight change in your hearing or vision can make a fall more likely.
- Stand up very slowly after you have been sitting for a while or laying down. Getting up too fast can cause dizziness or your blood pressure to drop and make you feel faint.
- If you feel unsteady while you walk, use a cane or walker. This is especially important in areas where the street or sidewalk is unsteady.
- Always wear rubber-soled shoes to help keep your feet steady while walking. Wearing only socks or smooth-soled shoes can increase the risk of slipping.
- Hold handrails whenever walking up or down the stairs.
- If you are prone to falling, consider buying a home monitoring system. With this type of system, you will wear a necklace that contains a button that you press and alert the service if you fall. The service will send emergency staff to your home to help you.
How to Make Your Home Safer to Avoid a Fall
You can make your home after and help prevent a fall by following these guidelines.
- Make sure the lighting is good in all stairways, hallways, and pathways, and that there are light switches at the bottom and top of all staircases.
- De-clutter all pathways to prevent tripping.
- Both sides of any stairways should have handrails, and make sure they are tight against the wall.
- Install grab bars near toilets and on both the inside and outside of showers or bathtubs.
- Use non-skid mats or strips on areas that can get wet.
- Have nightlights on at all times in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and hallways. When it’s cloudy out it can get darker in certain parts of your home even with blinds open.
- Have a telephone in all major rooms, especially next to your bed.
- Use electrical strips to keep cords and wires against the wall and away from walking paths.
- If you have trouble getting in and out of bed, chairs, or couches, consider replacing them for ones that are easier to get in and out of.
Browning Geriatric Consulting has been providing service to the Upstate South Carolina area for over 25 years. We are passionate about caring for the aging population and helping you choose a plan that works best for you and your family.
Click here to contact us or call us at 864-233-5260 for an appointment to discuss the many services we provide and how we can help your family.