Preventing Falls

As you get older, you are more likely to fall down and get hurt.  Each year, 1 out of 3 adults aged 65 or older falls down.  Falls are the top cause of injury for seniors.

That's because you are more likely to:

  • Get dizzy
  • Have trouble with your balance
  • Get up during the night
  • Have stiff joints
  • Have trouble seeing
  • Take medicines that make you weak, shaky, or sleepy       

How to Prevent Falls

Keep a cell phone in your pocket or nearby.  That way, you can call for help if you fall.

Wear an alert button around your neck or wrist.  That way, you can push it and call for help if you need to.  We recommend Philips Lifeline and can also provide you with one at a discount.  949-574-0750

Limit how much you carry.  The extra weight can make you lose your balance.  If you are carrying bags in from the car, carry one bag at a time.  Make extra trips if you have a lot to carry.

Stay active.  If you are healthy, you will be less likely to fall.

Talk to your doctor about mixing alcohol and medicines.  Take extra care when you drink alcohol or take medicines that make you weak, shaky, or sleepy.

Wear safe shoes.  Make sure they fit well and have low heels.  The soles should grip well.  Avoid wearing loose slippers, even in the house.

Wear your glasses.  Wear your glasses, so you can see where you're going.  Have your eyes checked and glasses checked once a year.

As your doctor if you need to use a cane or a walker.  Use your cane or walker to help with your balance.

Avoid climbing on ladders.  Store things you use a lot where you can reach them easily.  If you have trouble reaching something, use a step stool.  Stand in the middle of each step.  Make sure the stool sits flat on the ground and has a handgrip.  If you get dizzy on a step stool, ask someone to help you reach the item you need.

Choose chairs that are easy for you to get up.  Make sure the seat is level, not too soft, not too low to the ground.  Your back should rest against the back of the chair.  The arms of the chair should be the length of your arms.

Get rid of clutter.  That way, there will be less to trip over.  Get rid of chairs and tables you don't need.  Tie up cords.  Get rid of loose throw rugs or put safety mats or tape under them.  Never leave things on the stairs.

Keep floors slip-free.  Don't use floor wax.  Wipe up any spills right away.

Keep outside walkways clear.  Have someone clear away leaves, ice and snow.

Keep your home bright.  That way, you'll be able to see where you're going.  Keep blinds and curtains open during the day.  Turn on lights at night.  Use night-lights in the bedroom, bathroom and hall.  Keep a flashlight handy in case you lose power.

Make bathrooms safer.  Put grab bars or handgrips near the tub, shower and toilet.  Place a rubber mat in the tub and shower.  Keep a night-light on all the time.

Make stairs safer.  Keep them well lit.  Put glow-in-the-dark tape on steps - even if there is just one step.  Keep the railing in good shape and always use it.

Prevent dizzy spells.  Before you get out of bed, sit on the side of the bed for 10 seconds.  Hold onto a table or dresser as you stand up.            

 

Albert Barnett, MD & Nancy Rushton, RN