More than one in four people age 65 years or older fall each year. The risk of falling and fall-related problems rises with age. However, many falls can be prevented.
A simple accident like tripping on a rug or slipping on a wet floor can change your life. If you fall, you could break a bone, which thousands of older adults experience each year. For older people, a broken bone can also be the start of more serious health problems and lead to long-term disability.
What causes falls
- Reduced eyesight, hearing and reflexes, these may not be as sharp as when you were younger.
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, loss of muscle mass, problems with balance and gait are all risk factors for falling.
- Some medications can increase a person’s risk of falling, there can be side effects such as dizziness or confusion.
- Safety hazards in the home or community can also cause falls.
Some steps to prevent falls
- Stay physically active with regular exercise to improve muscle mass, and keep your joints, tendons and ligaments flexible.
- Try balance and strength exercises such as walking, yoga, Tai Chi or chair exercises.
- Fall proof your home – make sure walkways are clear of clutter, hold onto handrails, keep electrical cords away from walking paths, keep a flashlight next to the bed, clean up spills immediately.
- Have your eyes and hearing checked regularly. Talk to you doctor about any side effects of any medications you are taking.
- Always go from sitting to standing slowly and make sure you are using the right aids such as a 4ww or walking stick that is right for you.
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