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Health Briefs

How to decrease your risk of falling

How to decrease your risk of falling

Each year, one in three adults age 65 or older falls. Many of those falls will lead to a significant injury – a broken hip, traumatic brain injury, or serious cuts and bruises.

Equally scary, one fall can lead a person to develop a fear of falling, which can lead that person to limit his or her activity, which leads to decreased physical fitness, which leads to – you guessed it – an increased risk of falling.

These easy steps can help reduce the risk of falling:

  • Exercise regularly. Find a workout you enjoy – walking, swimming, biking, dancing – so that you stick with it.
  • Ask your doctor to review all of your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, to identify medicines that can make you sleepy or dizzy. And be sure to tell the doctor if you have fallen, even if you were not seriously hurt.
  • Get screened for osteoporosis, which causes bones to become brittle and break easily. Medication, diet, and exercise can help fight osteoporosis.
  • Ensure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D, either from your diet or through supplements.
  • Get up slowly after sitting or lying down. Rising too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop and leave you light-headed.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes.
  • Use a walking stick, cane, or walker if you need help feeling steady when you walk.
  • Wear non-skid shoes indoors and out. Don't walk on stairs or floors in socks or shoes with smooth soles. Never walk on slippery, newly washed floors.
  • Always know where your pet is so you don't trip over Spot or Fluffy.

For more on ways to fall-proof your home , view Tips for fall-proofing your home.