Avoiding Injury Among the Elderly

Elderly Man

Take the Right Steps to Prevent Falls and Injury

 

Overall good health will lower the chances of falling. If you’re taking care of yourself, accidents can usually be prevented. Use the following tips to help prevent falls and avoid broken bones:

  • Physically activity: If you’re not already active, ask your doctor to help you create an exercise plan. If exercise is already a way of life, keep it up! Exercise improves muscle strength and keeps those joints and tendons flexible. If tolerable, walking and climbing stairs slows bone loss from osteoporosis.

  • Get those eyes and ears checked. The slightest changes in your vision and hearing could cause a fall. Give yourself time to adjust to your new corrective lenses and be sure to wear them as your doctor prescribes. If a hearing aid is needed, make certain it fits properly, and wear it.

  • If you’re taking medications, know the side effects. If they are causing abnormal drowsiness, let your doctor or pharmacist know.

  • Sleep is important. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. If you’re sleepy, you increase the risk of falling.

  • Eliminate or reduce how much alcohol you drink. The smallest amount of alcohol can impair your balance. Take greater precaution if you are taking medication.

  • When sitting or lying down for a period, stand up slowly. Blood pressure drops when you get up too quickly. This will make you feel a little dizzy and unbalanced. It’s always a good idea to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

  • Assistive devices should be used if you need help feeling stable when walking. Canes and walkers are great for preventing falls. If your doctor recommends using an assistive device, make absolute certain it’s the right size and functions well. An occupational or physical therapist can help you choose the right device as well as teach safe and proper use.

  • Footwear is very important. Wear lace-up shoes with nonskid soles and low to no heels. You want full support for your feet. Avoid walking on floors or up and down stairs with socks, slippers, or any shoe with a smooth surface.

  • Keep your doctor informed. If you’ve had a fall or injury after your last check up, it is important to let your doctor know. This could alert your doctor to new medical problems, an issue with medications, changes in eyesight, or other concerns. Communicate openly and honestly with your doctor so he or she can recommend the proper course of action.