Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths, hospitalizations and emergency department visits among Florida’s senior population and are largely preventable. Loose throw rugs, clutter, objects in major pathways, and pets are all common contributors to falls. But did you realize that improper lighting in your home could be a risk factor? People who get up in the middle of the night could prevent falls by having a strategically placed night light in their room or hallway. Do you have grab bars in your shower? What about outside the shower on the wall? If you would like to have your home assessed, there are many organizations that will come to your home and let you know just how safe or unsafe your home is when it comes to preventing falls.
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Here are more tips that can help Seniors remain independent and reduce their chances of falling. They can:
Exercise regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good.
Ask their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines—both prescription and over-the counter—to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
Wear non-slip, low-heeled shoes
Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update their eyeglasses to maximize their vision. Consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for some activities such as walking outside.
Make their homes safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of stairways and improving the lighting in their homes.
To lower their hip fracture risk, older adults can:
Get adequate calcium and vitamin D—from food and/or from supplements.
Do weight bearing exercise.
Get screened and, if needed, treated for osteoporosis.