Four Easy Ways to Prevent Falls
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:
- Have you fallen in the past year?
- Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
- 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