Take The Right Steps During Falls Prevention Week
FROM ASPIRUS HEALTH
Falling down can sometime lead to scrapes and bruises, but for older adults (65 and up) it could mean a trip to the hospital. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls account for 2.8 million older adults visiting emergency departments each year and over 800,000 hospitalizations.
“As people get older, specifically over the age of 65, the risk of falling increases. Elements that help us balance, such as our hearing and eyesight, start to decrease along with strength and endurance,” says Josh Scott, an athletic trainer with Aspirus. “Fractures are the most common serious injury resulting from falls in older adults. Specifically, fractures of the hip, wrist, humerus, and pelvis. This can lead to lost independence, overall health decline and care needs increase significantly.”
September 18 – 24 is Falls Prevention Awareness Week. There are many ways to help prevent and avoid falls. Those who take care of their overall health can help lower their chances of falling and help maintain key factors of their health, such as balance and strength, that keep them on their feet.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid falls, according to the National Institute of Health:
- Stay physically active. Plan an exercise program and regularly exercise to improve muscle strength and to keep joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible.
- Have your eyes and hearing tested. Always wear your glasses or contacts when you need them. If you have a hearing aid, be sure it fits well and wear it.
- Find out about the side effects of any medicine you take. If a drug makes you sleepy or dizzy, tell your doctor or pharmacist.
- Stand up slowly. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop. That can make you feel wobbly. Get your blood pressure checked when lying and standing.
- Use an assistive device if you need help feeling steady when you walk. Appropriate use of canes and walkers can prevent falls, especially when walking in uneven and unfamiliar areas.
- Be very careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces and wear non-skid, rubber-soled shoes that fully support your feet.
Millions of falls occur that are severe enough to require medical attention and less than half of older adults that fall tell their health care provider, according to the CDC. It is important to always tell a doctor if a fall has occurred since a previous checkup. Even if an individual is not hurt when they fall, a fall can alert doctors to a new medical problem or the need for a change in prescriptions.
Doctors may suggest physical therapy or fall prevention classes to help increase strength and balance for those who experience falls more frequently. A walking aid or other devices may also be issued to help prevent future falls.
For more information about fall prevention, visit https://www.aspirus.org/falls-prevention.