Did You Know….
- 1 in 3 older adults fall each year.
- Women are hospitalized for falls more often than men.
- Older adults in Northwestern Ontario fall more often than older adults in the rest of the province.
- Most falls happen at home. You can reduce your risk of falling by staying healthy and keeping your home safe.
You can reduce your risks by…
- Taking part in regular physical activity such as walking, balance and strengthening exercises.
- Having proper lighting and handrails on stairs.
- Removing throw rugs from your home.
- Installing grab bars in your tub and shower.
- Using a stable step stool with a safety rail/handle bar to reach high objects. It is best to avoid climbing. If possible, ask somebody else to get the object for you.
- Eating at least 3 meals per day.
- Having at least 3 servings of milk or milk products per day.
- Talking to your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions with the medications that you are currently taking.
Prevent Yourself from Falling by…
- The best way to prevent falls is by keeping active and staying fit.
- Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
- Regular exercise can help improve your balance and bone strength. Chair-based exercises, stretching and walking are good examples. Try to walk every day, even if it’s just around the house or apartment.
Reducing the Hazards in Your Home
- Get rid of throw rugs and area rugs, unless they are taped down with 2-sided tape.
- Keep everyday things within reach so you don’t have to climb.
- Make sure hallways and stairs are well-lit. Keep pathways free of clutter.
- Install grab bars and non-slip surfaces in the bathroom and railings on the stairs.
- Have small meals and snacks throughout the day. Missing meals can lead to dizziness and weakness. Missed meals can also affect the medication you are taking.
- Aim for 3 servings of milk and/or milk products per day. If consuming milk or milk products is difficult for you, talk to a dietician about other ways to get calcium in your diet.
- Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about calcium and Vitamin D supplements to prevent bone loss.
Knowing Your Medications
- Talk to your pharmacist about potential hazards and interactions of some medications.
- Some prescription and non-prescription drugs can affect balance and coordination.
- Avoid mixing alcohol with medication.
Having Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly
- If you need glasses or a hearing aid, wear them.
- Be sure to wear the right glasses at the right time (wearing reading glasses while walking could be dangerous).
- The ability to see clearly with good depth perception will help prevent falls.
- If a person suspects they have hearing loss, an appointment should be made with the local audiologist to have a hearing test.