Preventing Falls at Home
Dean Limeri, MD, Ellis Internal Medicine
Each year, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls. The risk of falling at home threatens the health and independence of many people as they age. Falls can result in moderate to severe injuries, including bone breaks and fractures and head injuries. Often, the best defense against falls at home is to take the right precautions to ensure a fall never happens. Many of these steps are easy to implement and will make a huge difference in your health and your independence at home.
Talk to Your Doctor
Talking with your doctor regularly is the first step to preventing falls. Health factors such as blood pressure, osteoporosis and poor vision increase the risk of falls. Additionally, some medications may make you drowsy and dizzy which increase the chances of falling. People with a trial fibrillation taking blood thinners that fall are more prone to bleeds so be sure and review your list of medications with your doctor.
Exercise can be scary for those who fear falling, but exercise will improve the muscles in your legs and improve your balance. Often you can find community exercise programs like Tai Chi or walking classes to help get you active in a group setting. Remember to discuss your exercise plans with your doctor as part of your regular visits.
Safe Proof Your Home
Most falls are preventable and improving the lighting, walkways and furniture layout can help. Arrange your furniture to make clear pathways to walk through and remove small rugs to prevent from slipping. Consider installing handrails and lights on staircases and putting non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower. Consider installing brighter light bulbs to increase the light and ability to see when walking through your home.
Wear the Right Clothing
Make sure your shoes fit properly and replace any shoes or slippers that are loose or stretch. Don’t wear clothes that are too baggy to prevent it from catching or pulling on a household item.
The first step to treating falls is to never let them happen. Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about falls at home. If you need a doctor, Call 1-844-518-DOCS or visit EllisMedicine.org.
Lifesaving Support During Falls
Ellis Medicine’s Medical Alert Service enables you to continue to live independently in your own home and enables you to have the freedom wherever you go. It provides the peace of mind that you and your loved ones deserve.
Ellis’ Medical Alert Service minimizes complications that might arise from your living alone, by making sure that you quickly get help when you need it. This may mean dispatching an ambulance or simply calling a neighbor to look in on you.
Whenever you need help, one press of a button on the Medical Alert Monitor activates a small in-home unit that puts you in touch with a caring representative who finds the help you need. Call 518-382-2224 for more information or to sign up.