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Four Easy Ways to Prevent Falls

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Many people think falling is just a concern for the frail. But all adults need to take precautions to prevent falls. As you age balance decreases, making falls a major health risk—no matter how young or fit you feel.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, falling is the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults.

What causes falls?

Muscles generally lose strength and flexibility as you age—which is why all adults are at risk of falling. Many falls are linked to physical conditions, medical problems, or safety hazards in your home. You may be at risk of falling if you answer yes to any of these 3 questions:

  1. Have you fallen in the past year?
  2. Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
  3. Do you worry about falling?

A fear of falling can make the problem worse

A fear of falling is common as people get older. That’s because a fall can lead to a serious injury and a loss of independence. But it’s important to stay active. Many people who fall, even if they aren’t injured, develop a fear of falling. Limiting physical activity due to a fear of falling can lead to a loss of physical mobility and actually increase your risk of falling.

4 easy ways to prevent falls

1. Talk to your doctor

If you fall, talk to your doctor right away, even if you aren’t hurt. Many causes of falls can be treated or prevented. Some medications can make you dizzy and cause you to fall. It may be as simple as adjusting a medica­tion or doing some basic exercises. Your doctor may recommend vitamin D to help improve bone, muscle, and nerve health.

2. Stay active

Staying active helps improve your strength and balance, and reduces your risk of falling. Examples of helpful exercises include stretching to improve balance, yoga to increase flexibility, and walking, climbing stairs, or cy­cling to improve lower body strength. Tai chi is an especially good activity for improving balance. (You can use your $150 Wellness Allowance to join a tai chi class!)

3. Have your eyes checked once a year

Poor vision or conditions like glaucoma and cataracts can increase your chances of falling. Have your eyes checked annually and update your eye­glasses if necessary. You are covered for an annual exam and you can save up to $150 on eyeglasses or contact lenses each year!  

4. Make your home safer

Simple changes to your home can help reduce your risk of falling:

  • Keep stairs free of objects and clutter
  • Remove loose rugs
  • Use the hand rail when using the stairs
  • Use a night light in the bathroom
  • Avoid using step stools
  • Install brighter lights

How Our Plans Can Help

Weight Management Programs

Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred HMO plans and the Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred Supplement One plan provide an annual $150 reimbursement for fees related to weight management programs like WeightWatchers, Jenny Craig, and hospital based programs. 
 

Wellness Allowance

Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred plans offer a $150 reimbursement for fees related to a health club membership, fitness classes (such as aerobics, Pilates, Tai Chi, or yoga), nutritional counseling sessions and other wellness programs like memory fitness activities and acupuncture.
 

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