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5 Strategies for Fall Prevention

In 2018, the CDC reported that there were about 36 million falls reported by people 65+. Many of these falls resulted in escalated issues such as emergency department visits, hospitalizations, transfers to other health facilities, and more. The high number of reports makes falls one of the leading causes for both fatal and nonfatal injuries for older adults. 

To reduce the number of falls per year and keep people independent at home, having best practices for fall prevention is necessary. We put together a list of some strategies people can use to decrease their chances of falling and to know when it’s necessary to talk to their healthcare provider.

5 Strategies to Prevent Falls

Having the right fall prevention strategies is an investment in your independence. They increase your chances of aging independently at home, on your own terms. Consider implementing these strategies to prevent falls.

Maintain your Eyesight

Having regular eye exams and making sure glasses and contact lens prescriptions are current is crucial to decreasing the risk of falls. If you notice that your eyesight haschanged or that you can’t see out of your glasses as well as you used to, you need to visit your optometrist immediately. They’ll be able to help you get your eyesight back on track and provide advice on what you can do to maintain eye care at home.

Assess Balance, Gait, and Strength

Difficulty with strength, gait, and balance can increase your risk of falls.. If you notice that you or a loved one struggles when doing things like walking, carrying items, or getting up from a chair, it might be time to see a physical therapist to assess these issues. A trained physical therapist can help you improve gait and balance through exercise, and can suggest aids that will help while you’re improving strength.

Manage Medications 

Some medications can induce side effects that cause people to have balance issues or feel weaker than they normally do, leading to an increased chance of falling. If you or a loved one is experiencing these kinds of side effects, it’s time to have a discussion with a doctor or pharmacist. They’ll be able to help you modify medications to fit your needs and directly address the side effects you’re feeling. Remember: this is crucial so don’t wait if you’re feeling these effects! 

Remove Hazards From the Home

Items around your home like throw rugs, electrical cords, and floor decorations are huge falling hazards, and have been known to injure people that trip over them. You’ll want to remove these hazards (and any others you may have) to ensure that you always have a clear path to walk through.

Keep your Home Well-Lit

Having bright lights around your home is a necessity to prevent falls. You’ll want to use light bulbs with higher voltage and plug-in night lights around your house to make sure you can always see where you’re walking. These lights will be especially helpful if you normally wake up during the night to go to the bathroom or the kitchen!

Don’t Wait to Talk to a Healthcare Provider

While you can significantly reduce your chances of falling with the steps above, you still shouldn’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider will be able to help you with any medication modifications,and provide additional strategies for strength or balance issues you might have.

Additional Resources

New Strategies for Fall Prevention

Avoiding Falls When you Have Low Vision

Older Adults and Balance Issues

Healthy Hive

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