By: Jacob Gottlieb
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three adults age 65 or older
may experience a fall each year. A fall can cause serious injuries such as head traumas or hip fractures.
These slips or tumbles are the leading cause for fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults. Even though
a third of older adults experience a fall, less than half of those people will consult their primary care
provider about it.
There are a few ways an older adult or senior can prevent falls from happening. What is most important
is talking to your primary care provider to review your current medications as well as health conditions
that may be affecting your balance or coordination Providing extensive details on any prescription or
over-the-counter medications you are taking will help you and your doctor in the long run.
Your doctor may ask you to take vitamins or other dietary supplements such as calcium or vitamin D
to help avoid fractures in the hip. Be careful to wear shoes that are comfortable as well as easy to walk
in. They should be the proper size for your feet and should include non-slip tread on the bottom. High
heels, loose sandals, or shoes with little or no tread can cause you to fall when you are out walking.
Shoes that are lace up with nonskid soles are recommended to avoid falling.
Exercising regularly will also keep your reflexes and balance within your control. Tai Chi classes may
help you improve your leg strength and balance. Ask your doctor what physical activity would be best
for you, as some sports or classes may not be feasible and evening be dangerous. Swimming is another
activity that is easy on the joints but also helps improve leg strength.
Some ear and eye conditions can increase the possibility of a person experiencing a fall. Make note of
any dizziness or pain you feel when you are walking as well as any numbness or shortness of breath.
These details will help you and your doctor create a plan of prevention.
Since most falls occur at home, preventing in home falls is one of the most crucial parts of fall
prevention. Hazardous furniture or items around your home can cause a trip or fall if not properly
removed. Be sure to remove objects such as boxes, electrical cords, and phone cords from high traffic
areas. Furniture that is close to the ground such as coffee tables, nightstands, or plant stands can cause
one to fall. Your bathroom should utilize assistance devices such as hand bars in the shower or tub
as well as a seat with arm rests on the toilet. This will make getting in and out of the bathroom much
easier. Putting a rug on tile and a bath mat in your tub or shower will also help you fall-proof your home.
Loose areas rugs or carpeting should be removed from the home or taped down to avoid tripping on
corners or slipping. Utilize nightlights in your bathroom, hallways, as well as your bedroom to avoid
falling in the middle of the night. Illuminating your living space will make getting around at night easier
and safer. Make sure that your bed is not too low or too high on the ground to avoid falling out of bed or
experiencing trouble getting up. Couches and lounge chairs should also not be too close to the ground,
as this may be a hazard when you get up. Install handrails for both sides of the staircase in your home
and keep your staircase illuminated at night.
These steps will help you fall proof your home. Make sure to speak with your primary care provider in
regards to what other devices or techniques you can utilize to live a safe, healthier life.
Jacob Edward is the manager of Prime Medical Alert in Phoenix Arizona. Jacob founded Prime
Medical Alert in 2009 and has helped many seniors safely remain independent in the comfort of
their homes. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys dining out and supporting his alma mater Arizona
State’s Sun Devil sports teams. Jacob lives in Tempe Arizona.