7 Ways Older Adults Can Prevent Falls

Graphic: preventing falls for seniors

[Updated: October 31, 2023 | Published: December 29, 2022]

Do you want to stay active and independent as you age? Then take steps now to prevent falls.

It’s no secret that as people age, they’re more likely to experience falls – and that falling is a serious matter for older adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of injury and injury-related death for seniors. Emergency rooms treat around 300 million adults over 65 each year for fall-related injuries such as sprains, broken bones, head injuries and hip fractures.

Falls are common, costly and preventable. Whether you’re living at home or in a senior living community like Friendship Village of Dublin, you can use fall-prevention strategies outlined below to help reduce your risk of falling. And, if you have loved ones over 65, talk to them about ways they can prevent falls.

1. Get a Medical Check-Up

senior woman receiving medical examOne of the best ways to prevent falls is to see your doctor, who can check for underlying health conditions that may increase your risk of falling.

Tell your physician if you have fallen, if you feel unsteady when standing or walking, or if you fear falling.

Have your doctor examine your feet. Discuss proper footwear and ask whether you need to see a podiatrist.

Ask your doctor to review your medications to see if any of them may cause dizziness or drowsiness, which could lead to a fall. Physicians can prescribe a different medication or give advice on adjusting your behavior when taking medication to prevent falls.

Also report if you feel dizzy or light-headed when you go from lying down to sitting up, or from sitting to standing. These can be signs of a condition called postural hypotension, which involves a drop in blood pressure when you stand up. This can make you more likely to fall.

2. Have Regular Eye Exams

bearded older man receives eye examEyesight often deteriorates with age. For example, the lenses of the eyes become less flexible and make it difficult to focus on close objects. This condition, called presbyopia, is why so many seniors need reading glasses!

When you have trouble seeing, you may not navigate your environment as well, increasing the likelihood of tripping or stumbling. By having regular eye exams, you can ensure that your vision is as clear as possible, reducing your risk of falling.

During eye exams, doctors can prescribe corrective lenses if you need them. They also can test for conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration that can cause blurred vision.

The good news is that many age-related eye changes can improve with an eyeglass prescription, medication or surgery. Getting a yearly eye exam can help catch any vision problems early and correct them before they cause a fall.

3. Keep Your Home Clutter-Free

feet of olde woman about to trip over elecgtrical cordA cluttered home is an accident waiting to happen.

If you have a lot of stuff on the floor, especially in walkways or in other areas where you walk, there’s a greater chance you’ll trip and fall.

Loose rugs, cords and other objects on the floor can become tripping hazards. To reduce the risk of falling, remove scatter rugs or secure them with rug pads that grip the floor. Move cords and other objects out of your path so you’re less likely to trip on them.

Besides creating tripping hazards, clutter can make it more difficult to navigate your home. When there is too much stuff in a space, it can be harder to see where you are going, making it more likely that you will trip or stumble. By decluttering the home, you can create clear pathways and make it easier to move around your living space.

Decluttering also improves the overall appearance of the home, making it a more pleasant and inviting space. A clean and organized living space can help you feel more comfortable and at ease, reducing stress and anxiety. This can help you feel more confident and capable, which can reduce your risk of falling.

Questions About Decluttering? We’ve Got Answers

Just sign up for our free “Decluttering Your Life” seminar on January 10, 2023. Featuring Sam Stearns of Songbird Transitions, this is the first of four enlightening topics in our new Navigating Life’s Journey senior living series.

To RSVP, call 614-665-5538 or fill out the form on the Navigating Life’s Journey Event Page.

4. Make Home Improvements

grab bars and a shower chair help prevent fallsUpdating your home can decrease falling risks.

For example, make sure your home is well lit. Place adequate lighting in all areas of your home, including hallways, stairs and entryways. Consider using motion-sensing lights that automatically turn on when you enter a room. This can help prevent trips and falls in the dark.

Installing grab bars and handrails in key areas also can help prevent falls. For extra stability and support, place grab bars in the shower and near the toilet, and install handrails on both sides of stairways. A shower chair also can make bathing safer.

Also consider using smart home technologies such as wearable medic alert systems to notify caregivers and emergency services if you become injured after a fall.

5. Exercise

group of seniors walking outdoorsRegular physical activity is important for many reasons, including fall prevention. Exercise helps improve strength, flexibility and balance, all of which can reduce the risk of falling.

Even simple exercises like walking, stretching or Tai Chi can make a difference in preventing falls. In fact, some studies have shown that Tai Chi can reduce the risk of falls by almost 50 percent. So get moving to prevent falls!

6. Wear Well-fitting, Supportive Shoes

senior female runner kneels to tie shoeBecause balance is key to preventing falls, wear shoes that fit well, provide excellent support and traction, and are in good condition.

Shoes that are too big or too small can throw off your balance. Keep in mind that shoe sizes can change with age, so have your feet measured when buying new shoes.

Wearing shoes with good arch support keeps your feet stable and prevents fatigue.

Worn-out shoes can lose traction and cause you to slip. On average, shoes last between eight to 12 months. This time frame can vary depending on the quality of the shoe and the wear and tear on the soles.

A good grip is crucial to help you stay upright in all weather, so look for shoe soles that are sturdy and slip-resistant.

7. Use a Mobility Aid

senior using a walker to prevent fallsIf you have trouble walking or keeping your balance, using a cane, walker or other assistive device can help prevent falls.

Mobility aids will give you something to lean on for support and can help steady you as you walk. If you need to use a cane or walker, be sure to get one that’s the right size for you.

Worried About Falls? We Can Help!

Preventing falls and keeping older adults safe and active are top priorities at Friendship Village of Dublin and our innovative Friendship At Home membership program.

Friendship Village of Dublin

Fitness classesThrough our Wellness and Community Life department, Residents have access to testing, fitness classes, personal trainers and physical therapists that can help identify and improve factors that affect their risk of falling.

They also can arrange doctor’s visits through our on-site medical practice operated by Central Ohio Primary Care.

If a Resident becomes injured, they have guaranteed access to skilled nursing and rehabilitative care at top-rated Alderwood Health and Rehab, right on campus.

We invite you to schedule a visit to learn about how you can live worry-free while pursuing an active, independent and engaging life at Friendship Village of Dublin.

SCHEDULE NOW!

Friendship At Home

Love living at home? Our innovative Friendship At Home program can help you redefine aging in place by providing LifeCare in your own home.

As a Friendship At Home member, your personal care coordinator can help you develop strategies to reduce your risk of falling.

And, if you do fall, your care coordinator is available 24 hours a day to arrange needed care. In fact, our program pays for up to full assisted living or nursing home levels of care in your home.

Sound interesting? Call a Life Plan Counselor at (614) 734-2167, or fill out the contact form at the link below.

Contact Friendship At home!

 

 

 

 

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