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It's a Balancing Act

Tips for preventing falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for injuries related to falls. Yet the elderly are not the only ones at risk for falls. People living with an illness may be at increased risk for falls due to side effects from multiple medications, muscle weakness, peripheral neuropathy, vision problems, inability to sleep, stress, depression or a change in the ability to think clearly.

Hospitals nationwide offer fall prevention programs to train staff and involve patients and families to help decrease the risk of falling while in the hospital. It's important to have skid-proof socks, armbands and bed alarms while in the hospital, but what about fall risks in your own home and in the community? The fear of falling may prevent people from leaving their home, which can increase the risk for depression, social isolation and a decline in health.

Fall prevention tips:

  • Schedule an appointment for a complete physical check-up, including an eye exam.
  • Ask your physician about a referral to home health and occupational or physical therapy to help you live more independently.
  • Talk with your pharmacist to make sure you are aware of possible side effects of all medications you are taking. See if they put you at risk for dizziness, falls, etc.
  • Assess your home for safety. If necessary, install handrails, grab bars, floor lighting, anti-skid products for stairs and rugs, and a medical alert system. Ask your doctor's office where you can find these items.
  • Take an exercise class that is proven to increase strength and balance such as t'ai chi, yoga or Pilates.

Falls Prevention Awareness Day is recognized on Sept. 22, 2016, which is the first day of fall. To help recognize this important issue, Turning Point is offering several fall prevention programs.