Some Facts about Falls:

The risk of falling increases with age. More than half of all falls happen at home for people age 65 and older. Often, people don’t know how or why they fell.

Older adults who fall once are likely to fall again within a year. At least 95% of the 200,000 annual hip fractures are caused by falls.

Two-thirds of falls resulting in hip fractures occurred in people wearing poorly fitted shoes. Falls are the leading cause of death caused by injury in people over the age of 65.

Here are some ways to prevent falls at home:

Shoes
• Take time to try on both shoes to make sure each one fits comfortably.
• Walk around to make sure you feel balanced in the shoes.
• Wear the proper shoes for the activity you are doing.
Medications
• Medications for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, depression, and allergies may increase your risk for falls.
• Read the warnings and patient information with each prescription.
• Take your prescription as directed: proper dosage, time, and with or without food.
• Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure of the directions or are having reactions.
• Tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, both prescribed and over-the-counter.
• Do not stop taking prescribed medications without first talking to your doctor.

Physical Activity
• Keep moving – sitting around lets muscles lose strength which increases the risk of falling.
• Activity can reduce the risk of falls for both healthy and frail individuals.
• Improving strength, balance, and coordination may reduce the risk of falls.
Alcohol
• Drinking and driving don’t mix, but did you know that drinking and aging don’t mix either?
• At age 60, two drinks will have a definite effect on you because as you age, your body takes longer to break down alcohol, which means it stays in your system longer.
• Half of all prescriptions for older adults contain a sedative, drinking alcohol not only increases the risk of falling down, but also is dangerous.

Nutrition
• Eating a variety of foods from all five food groups can provide energy and nutrition to stay healthy and active.
• Eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D or taking supplements can help bones stay strong.
• Weak bones from conditions such as osteoporosis can cause falls.
• Weak bones break easily and take longer to heal.
Dizziness
• Stand up slowly and do not start to walk until your head is clear – dizziness could make you fall.
• Let your doctor know if you are dizzy when you get out of bed or wobble when you try to get up from a chair.

If you want to read more about good nutrition for seniors, please read the article from our Dietitian Estela at http://www.panhandlehomehealth.org/blog/eat-right-bite-by-bite/