Fight the fear of falling
Falls are a big health concern among seniors—each year, 1 in 3 adults ages 65 and older experiences a fall, which can lead to hip fractures, brain injuries, reduced independence and even early death. Many of those who fall develop a fear of falling, which, in turn, can lead to decreased activity and physical fitness and an increased risk of further falls. But the cycle can be broken. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these tips for lowering your chance of taking a tumble:
- Exercise. Pay particular attention to exercises that boost leg strength and balance. Tai chi is a good activity to try.
- Review your medications with your health care provider. Prescription and over-the-counter medications can trigger dizziness or drowsiness.
- Get your vision checked. Visit an ophthalmologist or optometrist yearly to ensure your prescription is up to date.
- Tweak your house. Minor adjustments such as getting rid of tripping hazards (throw rugs, electrical cords), adding grab bars to the shower and toilet area, installing railings on both sides of the stairs and adding more lighting to the home can improve safety and make you feel more at home.
- Take steps to reduce your hip fracture risk. While they may not decrease your risk of falling, weight training, an osteoporosis screening and sufficient calcium and vitamin D intake (ask your health care provider what your daily intake should be) can lower the chance of breaking your hip. Medications, including alendronate, risedronate, zolendronic acid and denosumab, are often used to treat the bone-thinning disease known as osteoporosis.
Fall Reduction Program
There is a Fall Reduction Program available here at The Farnum Center. This program includes a comprehensive balance evaluation, and education and training programs designed for the prevention of falls for people over age 65.