Balancing your checkbook is one thing; keeping good balance as you age is another. For older adults, balance falters due to diminished vision, reduced coordination, hearing and muscle strength, and slower reflexes.
Although it is not an inevitable result of aging, falling is common for older adults. In fact, one of every four adults over 65 falls each year. This results in 3 million emergency room visits—making fall-related injuries the most common type of injury and the primary reason for trauma-related hospital admissions among this age group.
Since a majority of falls occur in the home, creating a safer living environment can be a huge help to reduce the risk of falling.
To prevent falls in your home:
- Remove clutter, loose wires and cords.
- Anchor rugs with nonskid material.
- Make sure entrances, halls and stairways are well lit.
- Clean spills immediately.
- Store commonly used items in easy-to-reach areas.
- Install grab bars in bathrooms.
- Place non-slip mats in tubs and showers.
- Space furniture to allow clear pathways.
Certain medicines can increase the risk of falls, so it’s important to assess all medications that you take. Ask your healthcare provider if any of your medications have side effects or interactions that may increase your risk of falling.
The fear of falling can cause people to limit their activity level, which in turn reduces mobility and leads to an increased risk of falls. Overlake offers fall prevention classes to reduce the fear, increase activity levels, and improve quality of life and one’s ability to remain independent. Participants learn to make changes to reduce fall risks and learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance.