Falling is one of the most important day-to-day risks for individuals 65 and older. With as many as 30% of falls resulting in a moderate to severe injury, it’s not uncommon to see a single fall as the beginning of a vicious cycle.
Falls are not inevitable and, in the vast majority of cases, are easily preventable. Here are some tips to help prevent falls and keep yourself safe at home.
Warm-Up Before You Get Up
Sometimes, you can get lightheaded or dizzy when first standing up after sitting for a while, blood pools in your feet. When you get up too quickly, your body doesn’t have enough time to get the blood up to your brain before you stand up. You can help this by marching or kicking your legs before you stand up to help your blood circulate and prevent dizziness upon movement.
Keep Your Home Free of Tripping Hazards
-Keep a clear walkway throughout your home. Make sure there are not any objects or furniture that you have to step over. Make things easier on yourself!
-Rugs should lay flat. A rug pad will help if your rug tends to bunch up.
-Keep an eye on your pets. Know where they are so that they don’t try to trip you. Consider using a baby gate if they like to stay underfoot on the stairs.
Control Your Environment
-The majority of falls occur in the bathroom. Consider setting up a shower bar and some floor grip pads, even if you don’t feel unsteady right now. Make the change before you need it!
–Many people are hesitant to start using an assistive walking device. There will be bad days when you may feel off balance or dizzy. Even if you don’t use a mobility aid every day, it is good to have a cane around. Suppose you are concerned about getting tired or weak farther into a walk and needing rest. In that case, rollator walkers can double as a convenient seat.
Regular exercise will ensure that your body maintains the strength and conditioning necessary to keep yourself upright. Walk confidently and at a brisk pace. Balance deteriorates more quickly than strength or flexibility. If you don’t use it, you lose it!
Treat falls seriously. If you or a loved one experiences a fall, please don’t shrug it off. A fall can mean that there’s an underlying issue at play that you may not even be aware of yet. If you’re feeling unstable or dizzy when walking around, don’t hesitate to seek help from a Physical Therapist. We can help improve your overall balance and conquer the specific challenges you face in your daily life.
Read the full article in our digital flipbook, Excel PT: Balance & Dizziness