You may have heard the statistic: that one in three people who are 65 years and older will fall every year. These falls can lead to an older adult getting hurt so badly that they lose their ability to live independently.Falls happen due to a loss of balance, and then not being able to recover balance. Part of the reason older adults fall has to do with the natural process of getting older (or biological factors). But there are other factors that can also lead to falls, like a person’s behaviour and their environment (i.e., home). Good news is, there’s a lot you can do to reduce the risks. If you are an older adult or have an aging loved one, use these tips to prevent falls.
How to improve biological factors:
- Be physically active to strengthen muscles. Here are examples of how to stay active as you age.
- Get your eyes checked to detect vision problems.
- Make a list of all your medications and supplements and ask your pharmacist to review them, looking for combinations that cause dizziness or impaired judgement.
How to improve behaviour factors:
- Don’t wear shoes with worn out tread or loose-fitting slippers since bad footwear can lead to slips, trips and falls.
- Don’t let the fear of falling stop you from being active. If you’ve fallen before, you may be afraid of falling again. But physical activity helps keep you strong which can prevent future falls and fractures.
- Drink enough water. Dehydration puts you at higher risk for falling.
How to improve home environment factors:
- Remove the clutter. Things on the floor can cause you to trip or stumble.
- Install grab bars in your bathroom to help with getting in and out of the tub. Grab bars can look stylish – get some in white or chrome.
- Get some new lighting. Dark corners can limit visibility and lead to a fall. Bonus: most new lighting fixtures use very little electricity.
- Learn more about fall-proofing your home.
In the spirit of Seniors’ Fall Prevention Awareness Week (November 3-9), take the time to think about how you can prevent falls for yourself and those you love.