Have you fallen recently or are becoming more scared of falling? Falls can be scary and painful.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 people who are 65 years and older fall each year. In that statistic alone, falling seems scary. However, we have good news for you: falls are preventable! Here are some things that the CDC recommends for you to keep in mind.
Talk to Your Doctor.
Healthcare providers can ease your fear of falling. Telling your provider about a fall, a sense of
unsteadiness or a fear of falling can help you and your doctor identify the cause of the incident or fear. Many medications, like antidepressants or blood pressure/heart medicines, can cause side effects that make you tired, dizzy, or weak. It is important to discuss with your doctor the medications you are taking and how they affect your body. As you get older, your body can change how it reacts to different medications as well. So even if a side effect didn’t occur before, it doesn’t mean it can’t appear later.
The CDC recommends talking to your doctor about having your eyes and feet checked each year. Eye exams are important in treating conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. Having poor vision decreases our ability to identify objects that we could trip over and other possible hazards. Talk to your doctor about proper footwear and get recommendations on what would be best for you. Proper footwear is important for walking and preventing pain from having low arches or improper walking.
At Home – Identify Hazards and Take Action
When it comes to preventing falls at home, identifying any hazards, and taking action to fix those hazards is an easy step to take. With fall and winter, we must get boots out. Storing those in a safe place can prevent you from tripping over them as you are going in and out of the house. If you don’t want to remove your rug, you can use double-sided tape to keep it from slipping out from underneath you. Showers and baths tend to get slippery. If that worries you, you can add a non-slip mat in your shower or bathtub to prevent falls in the shower. Move cords behind furniture so they are hidden and away from your path. If the carpet is rolling up or coming loose, get someone to look at it and fix it. Lighting is an important thing. If a light goes out, replace it. If you do not feel comfortable replacing it yourself, ask for help. Ask a family member or neighbor to come and fix it for you so that you can see. Overall, if you see something in your home that makes you nervous about falling, fix it or remove it.
Need to go outside? Make sure you inspect for uneven curbs, rocks, leaves, holes, and ice. Raking and shoveling are very important during the fall and winter. Making clear walking paths to the mailbox and car can help put you at ease and prevent you from falling. If you do not feel comfortable with shoveling, raking, or any action, ask a family member, friend, or neighbor who is comfortable to help you with these activities.
If you have recently experienced a fall and are in pain, schedule an appointment with Sport & Spine. Our expert physical therapists will help craft a program that is right for you and aide you in your recovery. If you need any more information on how you can prevent falls, you can go to the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html. They provide great resources for other actions you or your caregiver can take. You can also find a safety checklist for the home.