A: Anyone can fall, but the risk grows as we grow older. There are a variety of reasons for this, including certain medical conditions, increased use of medications and body changes associated with aging, including arthritis and cataracts. Unfortunately, falls can also be more dangerous for older folks, as osteoporosis is also more prevalent, therefore increasing the risk of sustaining a fracture. Consider some tips for fall prevention:
• Make sure your home is well-lit.
• Fasten rugs to the floor or use non-skid mats underneath them.
• Electrical cords should not be lying on the floor in areas of foot traffic.
• Add hand rails to your bathroom for bath, shower and toilet use. Add a mat to the floor of your shower or tub.
• Make sure there are rails on both sides of your staircase for support.
• See your eye doctor annually.
• Get regular physical exercise to keep your bones and muscles strong.
• Take care of your feet. If you have pain for any reason, see your doctor.
• Discuss side effects of medications with your doctor.
• If your doctor suggests using a cane or walker for stability, use it.
• Limit alcohol to no more than one or two drinks per day.
• When you get up in the morning or at night to use the restroom, sit on the side of the bed for a couple of minutes before getting up to walk. Your blood pressure can drop with the change of position and needs time to adjust.
Information from www.familydoctor.org, provided by Sally Bennett, PA-C, Mercy East Family Medicine, 5900 E. University Ave., Suite 200, 643-2400.