Live Well Polk: Steps You Can Take To Prevent Falls

Tifani Kinard, Administrator, Floyd Polk Medical Center

Nationally, falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits and account for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Falls are also a major cause of serious injury in older people and can lead to hip fractures and fractures. But there are steps you can take to prevent them.

Keep your home safe

It is important to make sure that your home is as resistant to falls as possible and if you have an elderly friend or neighbor nearby, you can share this information with them.

Pick up the clutter from the floor. Even in our best times, we can easily stumble upon something we haven’t noticed on our feet. Do not leave newspapers, towels, magazines, and other items where you or someone else could trip over them. In addition, in your living room, make sure that the cords of lamps, televisions and other accessories are stored as well as possible to avoid any danger. It will also make things cleaner.

Adequate lighting is important. While we might think that dimming the lights could set the perfect mood, for a visually impaired person it could cause problems. Older people can have difficulty seeing, so make sure there is enough light. You may need to add a lamp or two or increase the wattage of your bulbs.

If you have stairs in your home, they should have secure handrails. If the stairs are narrow, have an expert install handrails that connect to the walls on either side. Make sure they can support the weight of someone who needs them. The staircase should also include non-slippery surfaces and should be well-lit.

All showers and tubs should include safety bars so that someone can grab them for help. One or more bars should be located near the dresser.
It is also important to watch the elderly in your household or the elderly who live alone. They may not recognize the risk of falling based on their own physical condition.

Be aware of your own health

Here are some symptoms you can watch out for that could be contributing to a fall:

• Inactivity
• Lack of mobility
• Poor eyesight
• Inflexibility
• Difficulty getting in and out of a chair

How to protect yourself

If you are older, you can also take steps to protect yourself:

Speak with your doctor. Let her know if you have recently fallen or if you sometimes feel unsteady on your feet.

It is possible that some of the medicines you are taking may make you feel dizzy or drowsy. It might make you more likely to fall. Ask your doctor to review the medications you are taking. Do not stop taking medication without consulting a doctor.

Check your shoes. It is important that you wear the right shoes that are not prone to slipping or slipping. The right kind of shoes can make you more stable on your feet.

Make sure to have your eyes checked at least once a year, and make sure that if you wear glasses, they are updated as needed. Keep in mind that lenses that change color as you move from sun to shade can make it difficult to see indoors. Bifocals can also make it difficult to see on stairs.

How Floyd can help you

Your sense of balance comes from your inner ear, your visual and sensory systems.

Any change or damage to any of these systems can increase your risk of falling. Floyd Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation offers therapy to hospitalized patients for certain balance issues.

Visit to learn more.

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