Falls Are Preventable
For many older Americans, a fall can be a life-changing event, resulting in broken bones, pain, depression, and possibly even recuperation in a nursing home.
One in Three Will Fall
Did you know that one in three Americans, age 65 or older, will fall down this year? And that the risk of falling increases with age? If you've fallen in the past, you're at higher risk for falling again. For your own health and safety, if you do take a tumble, it's important to inform your doctor.
Talk to Your Doctor About Your Medications
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your current list of prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines to find out if any increase your risk for falls.
Be aware that alcohol interacts with many medications, potentially increasing the negative side effects.
Get Regular Vision Exams
Have your eyes examined annually; poor vision can raise your risk for falls.
Be sure your eyeglasses are clean, in good repair, and the correct prescription strength.
Wear sunglasses to cut down on glare.
Make Your Home Safe
Remove throw rugs and secure rugs to the floor with double-sided tape and put non-slip mats in the tub and shower.
Install handrails on both sides of the stairway, and grab bars in the toilet and shower areas.
Use extra lighting in dark areas; put nightlights in hallways, stairways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
Move items you frequently use (glasses and plates) to lower shelves in your cabinets.
Wear proper-fitting shoes with firm, non-skid soles; avoid loose-fitting slippers and sandals.
Exercise to improve your strength, balance, and overall health. Discover many fun ways to get active—and stay active—at www.bluecrossma.com/getactive.
Ask your doctor about the best type of exercise for your fitness level. Consider weight-bearing exercise, including weight-lifting and walking, as well as yoga or tai chi.
Drink water regularly, so you don't get dehydrated, which could lead to falling.
Call Keep Moving, to learn how you can join an organized walking program for people over age 50.
Visit www.mass.gov/dph/keepmoving or call 1-617-624-5972 (TTY: 1-617-624-5992).
Visit the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services for additional tips and resources on fall prevention.