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Fall Prevention

November is fall prevention month. Almost 1/3 of older adults’ experience falls. After 1 fall, approximately 50% of individuals will experience a second fall. Falls can be attributed to certain medications causing dizziness especially when standing, decreased mobility, osteoarthritis, underlying health conditions and impaired cognition. Falls can result in fractures, head injuries, permanent disabilities and in some circumstances, death. Falls are not a normal part of aging and should be taken seriously when and if they occur. Proper care and assessment by your family doctor following a fall is important to decrease the risk of any further falls and potential injuries.

There are a few things we can do to decrease our risk of falls as we age. After assessment and clearance by a physician, a key factor in fall prevention is to keep your body moving. This includes gentle movements such as yoga, swimming and walking. These activities improve balance, coordination and strength.

Invest in a pair of sensible shoes. For example, slippers, socks and sandals, although comfortable, can cause you to trip and subsequently fall. Buy a pair of good fitting shoes with flexible rubber non-slip soles. Getting fitted by a professional when buying shoes is a good idea as every foot is different and they can recommend a pair for you based on your gait.

Clear up your living space. Some falls are caused by tripping on rugs, cords, reaching for items on high shelves and slipping while getting into and out of the bathtub. Either remove throw rugs or secure them in place with slip-resistant backing or double-faced backing. Don’t forget to secure your bathmat in place too! Remove cords that are running across walkways. Install handrails in and around 8the bathtub as well as using a shower chair.

Don’t forget about lighting. A well-lit area helps you to avoid potential hazards. Keep a flashlight close to the bed, place night lights in high traffic areas such as hallways and the bathroom and turn on the lights before going up and downstairs.

Your doctor might recommend an assistive device, such as a cane or walker to help steady yourself when you are mobile. Other devices to consider are raised toilet seats, handrails in the shower, around the toilet and up or downstairs and handheld showerheads. There are also specialized devices, often made by an occupational therapist that can help you with daily tasks.


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