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Prevent Falls to Prevent Serious Injuries



A concern for all adults

Many people think falling is just a concern for the frail. However, a study by the Centers for Disease Control reported that falls were the number one reason adults over the age of 45 visit the emergency room.

What causes falls?

People don’t fall because they age. Often there is more than one underlying cause of a fall. Many falls are linked to physical conditions, medical problems, or safety hazards in your home.
Falls can be caused by:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor balance
  • Blood pressure that drops when you stand up
  • Dizziness
  • Slow reflexes
  • Foot problems
  • Vision problems

Preventing falls by exercising regularly

Exercise helps prevent falls by improving your balance and strengthening your muscles. Tai Chi programs are especially good.

Review your medications with your doctor

People who take four or more prescription drugs have a greater risk of falling. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications to identify any side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.

Have your eyes checked once a year

Ask your doctor if you need glasses. If you have glasses, make sure your prescription is still correct.

Make your home safer

6 out of 10 falls happen at home. Simple changes to your living areas can help prevent falls.

Steps to take in your home:

  • Have you ever felt a rug slip from underneath you? You can keep rugs from slipping by attaching rugs to the floor with double-sided tape.
  • Do you have to step over things or walk around furniture? Make sure you have clear pathways in each room.
  • Make sure any cords or wires are next to the wall so you can’t trip over them.
  • Keep stairs and steps free of objects and clutter.
  • Remember to always use the hand rail when using the stairs.
  • Place a lamp close to the bed so it’s within easy reach.
  • Use a night light so you can see well when walking from the bedroom to the bathroom.

Tell your doctor if you fall

If you fall, be sure to tell your doctor even if you aren’t hurt. Many causes of falls can be treated or prevented. Your doctor may suggest changes to your medication or eyewear prescription. He or she may also suggest physical therapy or the use of a walking aid, depending upon the cause.

Learn more about preventing falls with these articles from our Health Library:

How Our Plans Can Help

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.
 

Routine Vision Exam

Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred HMO plans and the Tufts Health Plan Medicare Preferred Supplement One plan include coverage for one routine vision exam each year.


 

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