If you’re worried about falling, you aren’t alone. Over one in three men and women age 65 and up fall each year, making it the leading cause of injury in older adults. But just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean it’s only a matter of time before you fall too. You don’t have to give up the activities you love to stay safe either.
At Primary Care Walk-In Medical Clinic, our experienced team offers personalized care and preventive strategies to help keep you healthy at every age, even into your golden years. We recommend these five simple tips to reduce your chances of falling as you age.
1. Create a safe living space
Homes are a common location of unwanted falls. Fortunately, it's easy to make your house a safer place for you to navigate. These changes include:
- Eliminating clutter, especially from stairways and hallways
- Fixing or removing tripping hazards, like throw rugs or loose carpet
- Installing handrails and grab bars, especially in the bathtub and stairways
- Adding non-slip mats to slippery surfaces, like bathtubs, kitchens, and porches
It’s also helpful to live on one level if possible, which can help you avoid unnecessary trips up and down stairways.
2. Make smart clothing choices
Those loose and breezy pants might feel more comfortable, but they can also make it easier to trip and fall. Similarly, walking around in your stocking feet or slip-on, oversized shoes can also cause accidents. Instead, choose properly fitting clothing that doesn’t drag on the ground or bunch up around your legs when you walk along and shoes with non-slip soles. And, if you love kicking off your shoes and only wearing socks at the end of a long day, opt for stockings that have grips on the soles of your feet to add traction.
3. Install proper lighting
It’s easy to ignore the importance of good lighting. But, inadequate lighting is also another major risk when it comes to falls. We recommend installing plenty of bright light bulbs throughout your home, especially in naturally dark areas, like hallways and stairways. It’s also helpful to add nightlights in areas like your bedroom or bathroom to help you move safer if you get up in the middle of the night.
4. Move your body — and do it right
Most people lose muscle strength and flexibility with age, but exercise can help. We can recommend a personalized exercise program based on your fitness level that can increase your strength, support your muscles, and improve your balance. These programs often include mild weight-bearing activities that also keep your bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons strong and healthy. The best part? The right exercise program can also help manage your weight and ease symptoms from other age-related conditions, like arthritis.
In addition to regular exercise, it’s also crucial to move your body in safe ways and use assistive devices, if needed. That means taking your time when standing up to avoid rapid drops in blood pressure (which can cause dizziness) and using canes or walkers if you feel unsteady on your feet.
5. Schedule regular doctor appointments
Several health issues can lead to a fall, from changes in your eyesight and hearing to heart disease, diabetes, and thyroid problems. Sometimes, certain medications can even cause side effects that increase your chances of falling.
To help keep you in the best condition and avoid medical issues that can affect your balance, we recommend scheduling regular doctor appointments with a geriatric health care specialist. These appointments not only help manage any chronic diseases you may have, but they can also prevent new issues from developing. Our team can also help identify any problems you may experience early on and keep them under control before complications arise.
It’s also essential to tell your doctor if you’ve had a fall, even if you didn’t hurt yourself. A fall isn’t always serious, but it can indicate an underlying issue — like changes in your vision or problems with your medications — that could be easily corrected.
For more ways to reduce your risk of falls as you age, visit us in Gilbert or Fountain Hills, Arizona; most services don't require scheduling an appointment in advance. To learn more, contact us by calling or booking online today.