One risk of getting older is that you’re more likely to fall. Unfortunately, you’re also more likely to suffer a serious injury as a result.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re taking all the right steps to keep yourself safe. We want to walk you through 3 important steps of fall prevention.
#1 Regular Medical Checkups
As you age, it’s important to have an established relationship with your doctor. Choose someone who you’re comfortable with and be consistent; you want your doctor to have a thorough understanding of your medical history.
There are several things you should get checked regularly to prevent falls:
- Your Hearing: Our inner ears have a major impact on our ability to balance. Certain ear disorders can increase your chances of becoming unsteady, and even a minor change or loss of hearing shouldn’t be dismissed!
- Your Vision: We recommend that older adults get their vision checked annually (if not more, depending on your medical history). Adults with poor vision are 2x more likely to fall. For more information, read this article by the Alberta Association of Optometrists.
- Your Blood Pressure: It’s no secret that high blood pressure can cause dizziness, which in turn leads to falling. As you get older, it becomes even more important to keep a pulse on your blood pressure. Your medical clinic should check your blood pressure each time you come for a checkup.
- Your Medications: Be aware of what kind of medication you’re taking and whether any side effects could lead to a fall (e.g., drowsy or dizzy). Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to keep on top of your medication regime.
Important Tip: If you fall, or even almost fall, tell your doctor. Don’t dismiss a fall if you’re unharmed or it feels like “no big deal.” After a fall or near miss, we recommend writing notes so you can remember all the details at your next checkup.
#2 Improve Your Environment
An important way to prevent falling is to make sure your surroundings are as safe as possible. There are several ways that you can adjust your home to make it safer:
- Clear High Traffic Areas: It might be time to shuffle around your furniture. Double-check if coffee tables, ottomans, or end tables are in the way of where you walk.
- Remove Tripping Hazards: Take a survey of your surroundings and remove anything that could trip you up. Look out for loose rugs, electrical cords, a stack of magazines, and damaged flooring.
- Install Rails & Grips: High slip areas include the shower and stairs. Make sure you install handrails, grips, and non-slip mats to keep you on your feet.
- Maintain Your Outdoors: Make sure that your lawn is trimmed, and your pathways are ice-free.
Important Tip: There is no shame in using assistive devices, like a walker or cane, to help you get around. If you find it harder to stay on your feet, get the advice of your doctor or physical therapist for a tool that could work for you.
#3 Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back
Many aging adults fear falling, even those who haven’t fallen before! This fear can often hold them back from doing the things that can help prevent falls, such as:
- Exercising or going for walks.
- Running errands, like grocery shopping.
- Attending social events.
Any medical professional will tell you that staying active is one of the best ways to prevent a fall. Be as mobile as you can, just wear sensible shoes while you do it.
Need help with Fall Prevention? Reach out to Nurses on Demand for a free consultation.