A simple fall can represent a significant health risk and serious injury for those who are frail, elderly or have limited mobility.
Short term illnesses and being on four or more medications also increase the risk of falls. If you feel unsteady on your feet, have felt dizzy recently, or feel like your concentration and focus has changed, talk to your Dr or Pharmacist. They can review your medication, and your Dr can refer you to other health professionals such as Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists or Podiatrists as necessary.
Many falls may be prevented by taking simple precautions and making use of the following tips.
Nutrition: eat healthy and nutritious food and prevent dehydration by drinking enough fluids
Be active: maintain a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise and activity to maintain muscle and joint mobility, and assist with maintaining balance
Right medications, right dose, right time: take medication only as prescribed – if you take medication that can cause drowsiness it is important to ensure your mobility is reduced while that medication is active, for example, at night in bed
Regular health checks and maintenance: such as eyesight checks, blood pressure checks, and feet maintenance for long toenails, bunions and corns
Shoes and clothing: wear comfortable, firm-fitting, flat shoes with a low wide heel, laces, buckles or Velcro fastenings and rubber soles that grip. Slippers need to be a good fit. Do not walk around in socks. Ensure clothing is not long and dragging on the floor, causing a trip hazard
Around the home: remove slip or trip hazards like loose rugs or mats. Wipe up spills on floors immediately. Ensure there is adequate lighting, especially at night. Keep outdoor pathways clean and in good repair. Highlight steps outside to ensure they are easier to see.
Independent Living and Mobility Aids: use a walking aid (walker or walking stick) at all times to help maintain balance. Install grab rails in the bathroom, and hand rails and ramps where needed. Consider emergency alarms and other safety aids. To reduce serious injury when prone to falling, use hip and shin protectors.