Fall Prevention By. Megan Nino

As our parents and grandparents grow older, concerns of them falling increase and can be very stressful to think about. 1 of 3 people, ages 65 and up fall and 20-30% of these people who fall, suffer from minor injuries. (CDC, 2015) One of the most common injuries from falling are hip fractures with affect 90% of seniors who fall. (Graafmans, 1996) Falling has the potential to become costly, debilitating, and/or fatal. It is important to be prepared for these incidents to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Falling can occur for a number of reasons. According to Currie, the five most common reasons why people fall are: postural hypotension, use of sedatives, use of prescriptions, environmental hazards, and muscular strength or range of motion impairments.  As we age, not only does our mobility decrease and risk factors increase, but so does our reaction time. (Reaction time is the amount of time it takes to respond to a stimulus.) This can result in tripping because of the delay or misconstrued messages between the eyes, the brain, and the muscles. Many of these falls can be prevented with a combination of home modifications, exercise/physical activity, and proper eating.

Modifying your home can be very simple and is probably the easiest of the three preventative measures. Here are some ways you can modify your home:

  • Clear Pathways

  • Be aware of uneven surfaces

  • Keep frequently used items near

  • Keep appropriate lighting in the house

  • Add supports in the bathroom and stairway

  • Put pet toys aways and put a bell around smaller animals’ necks

Diet and nutrition are important for maintaining and improving your lifestyle. They can also prevent falls. Stability and functional exercises are great to keep yourself or your loved ones active and staying strong. These exercises should replicate everyday activities and should focus on strengthening joints. Lastly, be sure to consume proper nutrition. Many studies have stated that many falls result in vitamin d deficiency or from a lack of eating a nutritious diet (this includes eating enough calories). Not eating enough will drop your sugar levels, which may cause dizziness. Living a balanced life leads to living a safer, healthier life.

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