Steady As You Go: Two-Step Plan For Seniors to Prevent Falls

As we age, our sight, hearing, muscle strength, coordination and reflexes aren’t what they once were. Each year, one in three adults ages 65 and older falls. Twenty to 30 percent of these suffer moderate to severe injuries that make it hard to get around and live independently. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to help prevent most falls.

Two steps that you can take to avoid preventable falls are to maintain your personal health and to create a safe home environment. Learn how you can better do both of these things.


Take Care of You
When it comes to avoiding falls, the best way to prevent accidents is to take control of your health. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Get a bone mineral density test. Your doctor can prescribe medications that will make your bones stronger. Plan an exercise program that is right for you.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of your medications, as some may affect your coordination and balance or cause dizziness.
  • Always stand up slowly after eating, lying down or resting. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop, which can make you feel faint.
  • Use a cane, walking stick or walker to help you feel steadier when you walk. Hold the handrails while on stairs. Wear rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes that fully support your feet. 
  • Use a “reach stick” or grabbing device to reach for something that is high.
Make Your Home Safer
When you’ve done all you can for your personal health, focus on shoring up your home, making it as safe an environment as possible. Here are a few ways to start:
 
  • Install handrails on both sides of all stairs, and be sure they’re tightly fastened.
  • Mount grab bars near toilets and on the inside and outside of your tub and shower.
  • Place nonskid mats or strips on all surfaces that may get wet.
  • Keep night lights on.
  • Keep electric cords near walls and away from walking paths.
  • Check that all carpets and area rugs are fixed firmly to the floor so they won’t slip.
  • Arrange your furniture (especially low tables) so you have a clear, open walking path.

Tai Chi Helps You Prevent Falls
Studies show that practicing tai chi exercises is effective in preventing falls. Gwinnett Medical Center’s PrimeTime Health program provides tai chi classes, as well as health education, activities and resources of interest for adults age 50 and older.
For more information about PrimeTime Health or to get registration materials, please call 678-312-2676 or enroll in PrimeTime Health, call 678-312-5000.

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