Lifestyle Management Tips if You’re at Risk for Falls

Falling is a major cause of disability in older adults. Every year, 36 million older adults fall, and 3 million of them end up in the emergency room. 

Aging brings on chronic conditions that increase your chance of falling. If you have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy in your feet, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, anemia, or another condition that affects your muscle strength, balance, or walking gait, you’re more at risk of falling.

Falling can even lead to death. For example, a hip fracture, common in older adults, requires hospitalization and a period of immobility. Your weakened immune system is more susceptible to respiratory and other infections that can be fatal, especially if you have underlying health conditions already. 

Here at Healthstone Primary Care, with three Florida locations, our practice includes a specialty in geriatric care. Our board-certified geriatric and primary care physician, Dr. Hector Fabregas, is expertly qualified to help keep you healthy as you age. 

Following are some common-sense tips to help you prevent falls

Get regular exercise

You’re no doubt familiar with the advice to get regular exercise as you age. There’s scientific reasoning to support that recommendation. 

A sedentary lifestyle leads to weak muscles and less flexibility and range of motion when you need to bend, twist, and turn. As the adage goes, “use it or lose it.” Having weak muscles leads to loss of balance, making falls more likely. 

Dr. Fabregas can recommend appropriate exercises to help you stay strong and keep your balance. You can even do routines via Zoom at home if you prefer not to go to a gym. Walking in your neighborhood is one of the best ways to get regular exercise. 

Remove home hazards 

Use a non-skid rubber mat in the shower. Purchase a shower bench or seat to feel secure during your shower.

Ensure floor surfaces are clear of newspapers, magazines, grandchildren’s toys, and other objects. Place a non-skid mat under area rugs, or better yet, remove them completely. 

Repair broken tiles or wooden floor planks that are loose. Don’t tape a phone cord or other cord across a walkway. Clean spilled foods and liquids right away. 

Light your way 

Use nightlights to prevent nighttime falls. Consider lights that turn on by clapping your hands if that’s helpful for you. 

You should be able to reach a light without getting out of bed at night. Keep a flashlight — and extra batteries — by the bed in case the electricity goes out. Learn how to use the flashlight on your cellphone. Always turn on the lights before using the stairs. 

Use assistive devices 

If you need a cane or walker, be sure to use it. Our staff lets you know the right size for you. Assists at home can help too. If your stairs are wood, you can purchase non-slip treads. 

Install grab bars by the toilet and shower to help you maintain your balance. If you’ve been using a raised toilet seat with handles post-surgery, you may find you want to continue using it. 

Review your medications 

If you see multiple doctors, make sure Dr. Fabregas has a complete list of all of your medications and the dosages. Medications have side effects; some can make you drowsy. Others can cause your blood pressure to drop and cause lightheadedness

Get your eyes and ears checked

Poor vision and/or hearing causes falls. You should have a vision test every year. Glaucoma and cataracts often develop as you age, and early treatment can save your sight. If you need a hearing aid, don’t forget to wear it. 

Contact Healthstone Primary Care today for all of your primary care or geriatric care needs. Call one of our three convenient locations, in Weston, Pembroke Pines, and Davie, Florida, or book your appointment online.

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