Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall, and every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Falls can happen to anyone at any time. However, as we age we become more vulnerable to injuries, especially those resulting from a fall. In recognition of Fall Prevention Week – September 22 to 28, Porter Regional Hospital offers these fall-prevention strategies to help reduce your risk.
Create a Safe Haven: The CDC reports that about half of falls happen at home. Start by clearing the clutter from your home and getting rid of tripping hazards, especially in high-traffic areas, that may get overlooked. If it helps to get new perspective, ask a friend or family member to do a walk-through with you to look for obstacles that could cause an accident. Don’t forget to secure any rugs with a slip-resistant backing. Install handrails if your home has stairs. In the bathroom, consider adding grab bars and anti-slip mats in your tub. Especially since we see less daylight this time of year, make sure your home has plenty of light and replace any burned out bulbs.
Shoe Sensibility: Fall prevention begins with wearing shoes with proper traction. Say goodbye to high heels, floppy flips and shoes with slick soles. The CDC takes it a step further by recommending shoes be worn both inside and outside the home and urging people to avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
Mindful about Medication: Certain medicines can affect how steady you are on your feet. Talk with your doctor to see if anything you take could affect your balance and put you at risk for falling. This is also a great time to consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Living in the Midwest leaves many of us deficient in this essential nutrient for good bone health. When did you last have your vision checked? Maybe it’s time to schedule an appointment as poor vision can increase your chance of falling.
Stay Active: No doubt losing your balance is a scary situation that can leave you afraid it will happen again. However, it’s important to stay active – as approved by your physician – as it reduces your risk of falling by keeping your muscles stronger and your balance keener. Take a walk, do water exercises or participate in a Tai Chi class, which has been shown to improve balance, coordination and physical performance. Exercise also helps you keep a positive outlook.
Talk to your doctor about ways to help you improve your balance and reduce your risk of falls. If you need a family doctor to meet your health needs, visit PorterPhysicianGroup.com or call (844) PPG-DOCS (774-3627).
Porter Health Care System has two hospital campuses and seven outpatient facilities serving Porter, Lake, LaPorte, Starke and Jasper counties. With more than 350 physicians representing 50 medical specialties, Porter Health Care System is committed to medical excellence and personalized, patient-centered care. Porter is directly or indirectly owned by a partnership that proudly includes physician owners, including certain members of the hospital’s medical staff.