Follow These Tips to Help Avoid FallsPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Did you know that one in three people over the age of 65 fall every year?1 Falling can put you at risk of serious injury and is the leading cause of accidental death in older adults.2 But there is a lot you can do to help prevent falls—from reviewing your medications to hazard-proofing your home.
Talk To Your Doctor
- Ask your doctor about your risk of falling based on your health conditions.
- If you’ve almost fallen or have fallen before, write down the details (including when, where and how it happened) and explain it to your doctor.
- Ask your doctor what you can do to help prevent falls. Depending upon your mobility, your doctor might recommend you use a cane or walker to help keep yourself steady.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications (including prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines) to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy.
Do Strength and Balance Exercises
- Doing a few simple balance exercises (like Tai Chi) on a regular basis could reduce your risk of falling.
- Physical activity may help increase confidence as well as muscle strength. This is important because a fall can leave an older adult feeling uncertain and vulnerable.
Have Your Eyes Checked
- Get an eye exam at least once a year, and update your eyeglasses if needed.
- If you have bifocal or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes these bifocal or progressive lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
Wear Practical Shoes
- Wear properly fitted sturdy shoes with good support and nonskid soles.
- Avoid high heels, floppy slippers, shoes with slick soles or walking in your stocking feet.
Help Reduce Risk at Your Home3
- Keep your home well lit by adding more or brighter light bulbs and placing night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways. Also, have a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs.
- Remove clutter and debris (like boxes, newspapers, electrical cords, phone cords and dog toys) from the stairs and walkways.
- Clean spills immediately to avoid slipping, and walk on floors only after cleaning solutions have dried.
- Install grab bars for your tub, shower and toilet.
- Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
- Have handrails on both sides of stairways, and turn on the lights before going up or down the stairs.
- Use nonslip treads for bare-wood steps.
- Remove throw rugs or use double-sided tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing to keep rugs from slipping.
- Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting.
- Keep items you use often in places you can easily reach without using a step stool.
Falling can cause injury at any age. But the effect on older adults may be more serious and long lasting. A little prevention may go a long way toward a safer and healthier lifestyle.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.