Did you know that one in every four adults over the age of 65 falls at least once every year? With one in every five falls leading to a serious injury, falling can be one of the biggest dangers to your overall health and wellbeing as well as your quality of life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent falling and reduce your risk of injury.
The Dangers of Falling
As stated above, falls can cause patients pain, injury, and disrupt their overall quality of life. Falls can cause broken bones such as wrist, arm, ankle, and hip fractures. Head injuries are also common injuries from falls especially for those who take certain medications that may act as blood thinners.
Several risk factors that contribute to the risk of falling include:
- Cognitive impairment
- Core and lower body muscle weakness
- Difficulty walking or maintaining balance
- Environmental hazards
- Joint and muscle pain
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Vision problems
Unfortunately, after a fall some patients may fear falling again and begin limiting their activities which may work against them as decreased activity can lead to muscle weakness and increase their chance of falling.
What preventative steps can I take?
Improving your muscle strength in your core and legs is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of falling and the chance of severe injury. Walking, jogging, yoga, dancing, and Tai Chi are all exercises you can do with no special equipment other than supportive shoes. Even practicing leg extensions from a seated position at home can help keep you centered and on your feet. Exercising at least 20 minutes a day will help to prevent muscle weakness which can make you prone to falling.
On your own or with your family, we recommend you also assess your home around environmental hazards as some falls occur within the home or around the house.
- Ensure handrails are secure on both sides of a staircase
- Install grab bars near the toilet and bathing area
- Keep hallways and pathways clear
- Keep frequently used items within easy reach
- Place rubber mats in the kitchen
- Use non-slip mats around the bathroom both inside and outside the bathing area
With these steps and prompt treatment for injuries, we will work with you to best ensure that you can continue living a full and healthy life. For more information on how we can help with fall prevention or to schedule an appointment, please contact Innovative Care Medicine today.