According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Falls can lead to serious injuries, fractures or even death. But the good news is that awareness and caution can prevent falls from happening.
How Can You Prevent Falling?
- Exercise. Improving your strength and balance can often prevent a fall. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to find out what type of exercise is best for you.
- Review your medicines with your doctor. Some prescriptions or over the counter medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, which may increase your risk of falling. Be sure to discuss any side effects you experience. Â
- Have your eyes checked. You should have a comprehensive exam with an eye doctor at least once a year. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure your prescription is up to date.
- Reduce tripping hazards at home. Remove throw rugs and clutter from the floor, add grab bars in the bathroom, and always keep your house well lit. Store groceries and other household items within easy reach so you don't have to strain yourself to retrieve them.
What If You Do Fall?
If you do fall, it can be very startling and upsetting. But it's important to stay calm and follow these tips to get back on your feet:
- Before you try to get up, decide if you are hurt. Getting up too quickly or the wrong way could make an injury worse.
- If you are hurt, ask someone for help or call 911. If you are alone, try to get into a comfortable position and wait for help to arrive.
- If you think you can get up safely, slowly roll onto your side and push yourself into a sitting position.
- Rest between each move to let your body and blood pressure adjust.
- If you can move to a sturdy chair or other piece of furniture, slowly rise to a standing position.
- Sit in a comfortable chair, wait for your body to adjust and try to relax.
For more information about fall prevention and senior health, log in to HAP's CareTrack™ for Seniors Web page.