Fact or Fiction about Fall Prevention
“Falling is a normal part of aging”. Fiction! Falls are preventable.
“I can limit my chance of falling by not moving very much”. Fiction! Moving around maintains good health, balance, and improves muscle tone.
“I am falling because of the new medication I am taking.” Fact! Report this to your health care providers immediately. Chances are high that the medicine is not right for you.
“I will not fall if I stay at home.” Fiction! Ironically most falls happen at home. Maintaining your physical abilities and socializing outside your home can be done safely with the right planning and equipment.
“I do a 15-minute daily exercise routine to increase my muscle strength and flexibility.” Fact. Use it or lose it is true when it comes to muscle mass with aging. Get up and move!
“Annual vision checks can reduce the risk of falling.” Fact! Seeing is believing here. Eyesight changes in subtle ways including loss of depth perception or reduced peripheral vision which can cause falls.
“I do not use my cane or that walker, they make me too dependent and more likely to fall.” Fiction! Mobility devices are prescribed by care providers, not as punishment but to make you safe.
What you can do to prevent injuries from falls
Schedule an annual wellness visit
Tell a provider right away if you fall, worry about falling, or feel unsteady. Have your doctor or pharmacist review all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall.
Ask your provider how you can improve bone, muscle, and nerve health
Once a year, check with your eye doctor and update your eyeglasses if needed. You may have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
Also, have your healthcare provider check your feet once a year. Discuss proper footwear and ask whether seeing a foot specialist is advised.
Exercise improves balance and makes your legs stronger, lower your chances of falling. It also helps you feel better and more confident. An example of this kind of exercise is Tai Chi.
Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about the best type of exercise program for you.