Did you know that September 22, 2018 (the first day of fall!) was Fall Prevention Awareness Day? Falls are a real problem for many people, especially older adults. Whether you’re recovering from an illness, caring for an aging relative, or wanting to be aware of ways that you can prevent falling yourself, here are some helpful tips (in a handy acronym, AVOID FALLS):
Assess your risk of falling with your doctor. Share any concerns and report recent falls.
Vision and hearing checks should be done annually. Update eyeglasses and hearing aids as needed.
Occupational therapists and other professionals can guide you with techniques and assistive devices that may be helpful.
Increase activities and exercises that improve balance, strength, and confidence. To find helpful evidence-based fall prevention programs like “A Matter of Balance” or Tai Chi, check with your local Area Agency on Aging.
Doctors and pharmacists can help you review your medications and consider possible side effects.
Frequently used items should be moved to lower shelves and cabinets so you don’t have use footstools.
Always make clear paths in and around your house by removing throw rugs, wires, clutter, and other tripping hazards.
Lighting is important. Have bright lamps and switches in convenient places. Use night lights.
Limit alcohol intake or avoid alcohol all together.
Showers/tubs and bathrooms can be made safer by using non-slip mats and installing grab bars inside the tub and near the toilet.
Talking about fall prevention and reporting falls can feel embarrassing. We may worry that we’ll lose our independence if we admit that we’re worried about falling. But the truth is that we can do a lot to reduce our risks of falling, and there are lots of great resources available.
What is one step that you can take today to help you or your loved one prevent falls?
Here are some great websites with additional information: