As we age, our bodies change. We lose muscle mass. Some people develop arthritis or other health conditions. Those changes raise your chances of having a fall. And falls can change your life.
Every year, 2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. And one in five falls causes a severe injury, like a broken bone or head injury.1
Why people fall
- Balance issues
- Middle-of-the-night bathroom visits (sometimes caused by bladder control problems)
- Blood pressure medication
- Not using the walking aid you need
- Tripping hazards in your home
There are steps you can take to prevent falls:
- Exercise to keep your strength and balance. Just walking more has great benefits — learn about them and download a walking schedule here.
- Search your home for tripping hazards. Those include electrical cords, throw rugs, furniture and clutter on the floor. Get rid of them.
- Add grab bars and non-slip mats in your bathroom.
- Make sure you have enough light in your home, including night lights.
- Talk to your doctor about your medications: do any of them cause dizziness?
- Arrange to have someone clear snow and ice from your steps, sidewalks and driveway.
These tips are good even if you’ve had a fall
Many people who fall become afraid that they’ll fall again. They cut down on their everyday activities. That makes life less enjoyable. It can also cause a person to become weaker. Which increases the chances of falling again.
What else can you do?
Ask your doctor if there are other things you can do to reduce your risk of falling (or falling again). Tell him or her about your situation – where you live, how you feel and your daily routine. And ask for advice on how you can avoid falling.
Then, don’t forget the most important tip: follow your doctor’s advice. And share it with your family if you need help carrying out some of the ideas.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html, accessed 10/11/17
ConnectiCare, Inc. is an HMO/HMO-POS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in ConnectiCare depends on contract renewal.