Wondering ways to improve fall safety? Falls can be a significant concern, particularly for individuals of all ages who may be at risk due to various factors. Explore four effective ways to improve fall safety and reduce the risk of injuries. Have questions? We are always here -- and don't forget about our in-home care if you can't get to us for your treatments.
Every year, nearly one in three adults age 65 and older fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Your risk of falling increases as you age. Although many falls don’t cause serious injury, falls remain the cause of nearly all hip fractures and the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Still, almost half of the adults who fall don’t tell their doctor or family, fearing a loss of independence or a potential move to an assisted living facility.
While falls are a real danger for older adults, they aren’t an inevitable part of aging. Simple precautions can reduce your fall risk long before an injury happens. In fact, careful adaptation can allow you to stay in your home and in control of your life even after a fall.
Staying active is the simplest way to reduce fall risk. “Anyone aging from midlife on should keep up regular activity to maintain core muscle and leg strength as they transition into early old age and beyond,” says Hopkins ElderPlus Medical Director Matthew McNabney, M.D. It’s important to stay mobile and avoid a sedentary lifestyle, according to McNabney. Instead of engaging in strenuous exercise, choose “activities that are pleasurable” such as walking or yoga.
Falls rarely happen without warning. Often, people will start showing signs of instability, balance or frailty, says Dr. McNabney. However, your primary care provider may not focus on balance issues and fall risk. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to ask your doctor. Recognizing these warning signs can reduce the risk of falls and the hospitalizations that may accompany them:
The key to living at home is to “acknowledge and adapt to limitations instead of suppressing them,” says Dr. McNabney. Rather than improving their surroundings, many older adults “become fearful and decrease their personal space” even before a fall. This reduction in activity increases the risk of falling further and has psychological risks. A physical therapist can help identify any unique risks in your home to provide both peace of mind and greater physical safety. The following are the most common risk areas in the home:
Reporting a fall is essential. “Being as open as possible about your fall is vital to your long-term safety,” says Dr. McNabney. “Since many people think that falling is an indicator of decline, they may try to keep it quiet so they won’t have to leave their home.” However, covering up your fall means that there’s no opportunity for your doctor to understand the circumstances surrounding the fall. This increases the chance of another, potentially more serious fall in the future. Your physician will help you take the steps necessary to continue to live your life as fully as possible.
Don't let the fear of falls limit your independence and enjoyment of life. Our dedicated team has the knowledge and skills to improve your fall safety and maintain your mobility. Contact us today at (561) 278-6055 to schedule a consultation. Follow us on Instagram at @millerphysicaltherapy for more tips and advice.