Ushering in the first day of autumn is Fall Prevention Awareness Day. Have you ever landed on the ground when you didn’t intend to be there? If you answered “yes,” then you are like an estimated 25,000 people daily.
Fear of falling keeps some older adults from doing ordinary activities – perhaps even their favorite activities. This can affect mental, physical and emotional health. But protecting yourself too much can actually make things worse. Legs weaken with inactivity, along with balance and coordination. And if you’ve cut out your usual activities, that can result in feelings of isolation, depression or anxiety.
Tips TO Prevent Falls
If you’re age 65 or older, it is wise to take some precautions, but don’t let your fear of falling take
over your life. Here are some practical pointers.
Vision & Hearing
Have your eyes checked at least once a year to make sure you have the best prescription for your glasses.
Clean your glasses regularly, and put them on even if you get up at night.
Hearing can affect your balance – if you notice a change, get it checked as soon as you can.
Be aware of medication side effects that may cause dizziness or drowsiness.
Review medicines with a doctor or pharmacist –
including over-the-counter medicines.
Use a single pharmacy so they can be aware of potential medication interactions, especially if you take more than three medications.
Diet & Exercise
Ask your doctor about the best types of physical activities for you, and make a plan to incorporate what you like and are able to do.
Do exercises that improve your balance, strength and flexibility. Exercise also helps you feel stronger and more confident.
Assess your home using a home safety checklist or talk with a professional to look for things inside your home that make you more likely to fall.
Change your home to make it safe – reduce clutter, improve lighting and install handrails and grab bars.
An occupational therapist can assess your home environment for potential slip, trip and fall hazards. They can help you with modifications to make your home safer, such as rails in the bathroom, and provide you with an exercise program.
An occupational therapist is trained to look at things inside and outside your home that may cause you to fall, and then give suggestions to reduce these fall risks.
You can ask your doctor for a referral for an occupational therapist if your insurance requires a prescription. Village Home Health’s occupational therapists see patients throughout nine counties in Missouri and Kansas and they are qualified to do home safety evaluations. Be sure to ask if Village Home Health is covered by your insurance plan.
If you do fall, do seek immediate help, especially if you:
Have major back pain,
Experience swelling anywhere on your body,
Have difficulty walking,
Experience dizziness, blurry vision, or memory loss, or if any bones have an unusual shape.
Better safe than sorry!
Want to Learn More?
Come to the John Knox Village Fall Prevention Fair
9 a.m. to noon • Thursday, Sept. 29 • Places Manhattan Room
1001 NW Chipman Rd., Lee’s Summit, Mo. 64015
Take advantage of these free health checks and screenings:
• Vision • Hearing • Memory • Blood Sugar • Blood Pressure • Balance and Gait • Fall Risk Assessment
Village Home Health and Village Helpers will have a booth. Stop in to say hello!
Sponsored by Village Hospice. For more information, call 816-347-4590.
913-403-8343 (KS) • 816-524-1133 (MO)