What is Falls Prevention?
One in three adults, living at home and who are 65 and older, fall each year. This number increases to one in two by the age of 80. Injuries after a fall can lead to hospitalization or even death. Adults who fall can experience limited independence with their daily activities because they are afraid of falling again. This fear often results in limited physical activity, which can cause an increase in weakness, which makes the risk of falling even greater. The fear of falling can often lead to social isolation.
What We Know About Falls
- One-half to two-thirds of falls occur around the home
- A majority of falls occur during routine activities
- Falls usually aren’t caused by just one issue. It’s a combination of things coming together.
- A large portion of falls are preventable!
- Falls are not a natural part of aging!
*Fear of falling is a risk factor for falls!
Did You Know...
Annually, the number one cause of hospital trauma admissions, fractures, loss of independence and death injuries amongst 2.8 million older adults in America stems from a fall. You may be less likely to fall by not wearing bifocal or multifocal lenses when walking and climbing stairs.
Certain medications, such as antidepressants, tranquilizers, sedatives and over-the-counter medications may interfere with balance causing instability when walking.
Studies by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Evaluation of Community-based Wellness and Prevention Programs show that participating in A Matter Of Balance (AMOB) leads to medical cost savings. Cost savings in unplanned inpatient admissions, skilled nursing facility and home health settings were also a result of AMOB participation. AMOB participation was associated with a $938 decrease in total medical costs per year.
The breakdown of medical cost savings are:
- a $517 decrease in unplanned inpatient hospitalization costs
- a $234 decrease in skilled nursing facility costs and
- an $81 reduction in home health costs.
Prevent hip fractures by taking steps to strengthen your bones and prevent falls:
*Talk to Your Doctor
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling and talk with them about specific things you can do.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines.
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about taking vitamin D supplements with calcium.
*Get Screened for Osteoporosis
Get screened for osteoporosis and treated if needed.
*Do Strength and Balance Exercises
Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance. Tai Chi is a good example of this kind of exercise.
*Have Your Eyes Checked
- Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year, and be sure to 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 types of lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
*Make Your Home Safer
- Get rid of things you could trip over.
- Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Put railings on both sides of stairs.
- Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulb