Every 18 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency department for a fall. Not surprisingly, once you’ve fallen, you are two to three times more likely to fall again the next year, and an unwelcome cycle has begun. When it comes to falls, as with many health issues, there are simple, positive steps you can take to reduce your risk. In addition to maintaining strength and balance, eyesight also plays a role in avoiding a fall and preserving your independence.
Changes in vision and balance, along with other medical and physical conditions, can make the risk of falling a greater concern as people age. Something as simple as updating glasses can make a large difference in preventing falls.
Prepare your home and prevent falls:
- Improve lighting in your home. Excellent lighting, such as lighted stairways and night lights, is an easy way to boost your vision in your home.
- Install handrails for the tub, shower and toilet.
- Monitor your medications for side effects or drug interactions such as drowsiness or confusion.
- When outside, beware of your surroundings, including icy sidewalks or uneven walking surfaces.
- Start a personalized fitness program to improve strength, coordination and balance. Valley’s Fitness Centers in Renton, Covington and Maple Valley offer individualized programs for daily workouts at home or in the gyms, virtual group classes and more.
- Wear well-fitting footwear with non-skid soles, indoors and out.
- Keep floors clear of potential hazards such as throw rugs, potted plants and electrical cords.
- Do not climb ladders or stepstools. Store items used often within easy reach. If the roof needs repair or the gutters need cleaning, hire it out or ask a neighbor or loved one for help. Your mobility and independence are too important to lose—and the ladder always wins.
Get more tips to help keep from falling and learn what to do if you fall, how to get up if you are able and ideas for getting help.