Every second of every day, 74 elderly adults take a potentially dangerous fall. In 2014 alone, more than one in four elders reported falling and more than 27,000 died as a result of their fall. It’s important to protect yourself against this common injury-prone accident. So, here are some simple steps that you can take to prevent falls and decrease the associated risks:
1. Talk To Your Doctor
Make sure you communicate with your physician if you have fallen in the recent past, feel unsteady, or believe you may be at risk of falling. They will be able to discuss potential treatments or side effects of medications you are taking, such as fatigue and dizziness, that may increase your risk of falling.
2. Check Your Vision
People with visual impairments are more than twice as likely to fall as people without visual impairments. Make sure to have your eyes checked once a year and keep up with your prescription updates. Multifocal glasses can also increase your chance of falling by impairing contrast sensitivity, depth perception, and ability to navigate obstacles. To reduce this risk, discuss with your physician alternatives to multifocal lenses.
3. Nutrition and Exercise
Eat foods or take supplements with calcium and vitamin D to improve your bone strength. One cup of milk has about 30% of the calcium you need daily, and is typically fortified with vitamin D. Pairing healthy eating with exercise is key. Engage in exercises that strengthen your legs and improve balance. For example, Tai chi can improve balance, flexibility, and mental agility - it also reduces falls.
4. Safety Proof Your Home
Most falls occur in your home, so make sure your floors are not cluttered and there is plenty of room to walk around. Securing decorative rugs so you don’t slip on them or even removing your rug is a major safety improvement you can make in your home. Additionally, installing handrails to your bathrooms and staircases ensures that you have that added protection if you begin to fall.
Falling is the largest preventable cause of death and injury among older adults. If you follow these tips, you will reduce the risk of falling and stay independent longer. Discuss with your physician if you are in need of a bone density scan. Advanced Imaging Centers offers bone density scans in three separate locations. You can schedule your appointment online today!