Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
How to Lower Your Risk
Who is at risk of falling?
Anyone can fall, although the risk
is higher in older people. Each year, falls occur in about a third of people 75
years of age or older who are living in their homes. This increased risk of
falling may be the result of changes that come with aging plus other medical
conditions, such as arthritis, cataracts or hip surgery.
What can I do to lower my risk of
Because most falls (75%)
occur in the home, you can make sure your home is safe by following these tips:
- Make sure that you have good lighting in your
home. As your eyes age, less light reaches the back of the eyes where your
vision is located. The lighting in your home must be bright so
- you can avoid tripping over objects that are not
easy to see. You should put night lights in your bedroom, hall and bathroom.
- Rugs should be firmly fastened to the floor or
have nonskid backing. Loose ends should be tacked down.
- Electrical cords should not be lying on the floor
in walking areas.
- Put hand rails in your bathroom for bath, shower
and toilet use.
- Don't use stairs without rails on both sides for
support. Be sure the stairs are well lit.
- In the kitchen, make sure items are within easy
reach. Don't store things too high or too low. Then you won't have to use a
stepladder or a stool to reach them.
- Wear shoes with firm nonskid, non-friction soles.
Avoid wearing loose-fitting slippers that could cause you to trip.
can I do?
Take good care of your
body. Try to stay healthy by following these tips:
- See your eye doctor once a year. Cataracts and
other eye diseases can cause you to fall if you don't see well.
- Exercise regularly to keep your bones and muscles
- Take good care of your feet. If you have pain in
your feet or if you have large, thick nails and corns, you should have your
doctor look at your feet.
- Talk to your doctor about any side effects you
may have with your medicines. Problems caused by side effects from medicine are
a common cause of falls. The more medicines you take, the more you risk having
side effects from them, which raises your risk of falling.
- See your doctor if you have dizzy spells.
- If your doctor suggests that you use a cane or a
walker to help you walk, please use it. This will give you extra stability when
walking and will help you avoid a bad fall.
- Don't smoke.
- Limit alcohol to two drinks per day.
- When you get out of bed in the morning or at
night to use the bathroom, sit on the side of the bed for a few minutes before
standing up. Your blood pressure takes some time to adjust when you sit up. It
may be too low if you get up quickly. This can make you dizzy, and you might
lose your balance and fall.