“Falls affect all of us, whether it be personally or from someone we love taking a tumble,” says Amanda Lencyk, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at Mercy Health.
The risk for serious injury or hospitalization from a fall does increase with age. This is due to factors such as loss of strength, loss of balance and even loss of vision.
“Falls remain one of the leading causes of traumatic injury we see at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital,” says Lencyk.
Forty percent of all trauma patients Amanda sees are 65 and older. And of those 65 and older patients, 80 percent of them are treated for injuries related to falling.
Check out Amanda’s six tips for how to prevent a fall:
Talk to your health care provider right away if you worry about falling or feel unsteady getting around on your own.
Properly use assistive devices:
While canes and walkers are helpful, they can also increase the risk of falling. It is important to talk to your doctor or physical therapist about which device is right for you. They should provide training on how to use the device as well.
Have your eyes and feet checked at least once a year. Issues with poor vision and foot problems can increase your chances of falling.
Make your home safe:
Around your house, spend time removing items you could easily trip over. Use non-slip mats in the bath and shower. Add grab bars next to the tub and toilet too. It is also important to make sure your home is well-lit inside and outside.
Exercise improves strength and balance. Something as simple as chair exercises can enhance core strength and reduce fall risks. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about what exercise program is right for you.
Don’t be afraid:
If you have fallen before, it is natural to worry about failing again. However, if this worry turns into constant fear, it could be the worst thing for you.
“A person’s risk for falling decreases the minute they stop being afraid of falling,” says Lencyk.
Visit Mercy.com for more information.