With the temperatures dropping and snow fall upon us, our elders are even more at risk for a fall this time of year. Falls are a threat to the health of older adults and can reduce their ability to remain independent. With our focus on aging in place, we want to help avoid debilitating falls and keep our loved ones in their homes. According to the CDC, 1 out of 3 older people falls each year but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chance of falling again. It is important to understand the risk factors involved with falls and modify these where we can.
Here are some risk factors that contribute to falling. These can be changed to help prevent falls.
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Difficulties in walking and balance
- Use of medicines, like sedatives and antidepressants
- Vision problems
- Poor footwear
- Home hazards, like throw rugs, clutter, uneven steps
Even though there are many risk factors, falls arent something that are inevitable with age. There are a few simple steps that can be taken to decrease the likelihood of a loved one falling in their home. Here are proven ways to reduce falls:
- Talk to your doctor
- Ask your healthcare provider to evaluate your risk of falling
- Ask your pharmacist to review your medications
- Ask your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements
- Do strength and balance exercises
- Have your eyes checked
- Make your home safer
- Get rid of things you could trip over
- Add grab bars in your shower and next to the toilet
- Add more lighting
Making these small changes can make a huge difference in the lives of our seniors. Together with loved ones and the healthcare providers, we can avoid a fall keeping seniors independent, at home and healthier for longer.