Reduce Your Risk

Introduction

As there are many factors that can increase the risk of falling, there are also many things you can do to reduce the risk.  Talking to your primary care provider can help.  Also attending evidenced-based community programs can to help you identify changes you to make and/or improve your balance.   You can also make changes to your home environment to make it safer and change personal habits to reduce your risks.

Balance and Gait Problems

What to do:

  • Exercise regularly and stay active. Balance and strength exercises have been shown to be the most effective in reducing fall risk.
  • Whole body exercises such as T’ai Chi have been found to improve balance.
  • You may also ask your primary health care provider for a referral to a balance program or physical therapist. This is especially important if you are unsteady or are afraid of falling. Also remember to wear supportive shows without heels. Loose slipper should be avoided.

Decreased Strength and Flexibility

What to do:

  • Exercises that strengthen weak muscles and increase flexibility of tight muscles can help improve balance and ability to walk.
  • You may consult with your primary care provider for strengthening ideas.

Low Levels of Vitamin D

What to do:

  • Healthy adults can improve balance, muscle strength, and bone strength and reduce the risk of falls and fractures by taking 800 IUs of Vitamin D3 or Cholecalciferol/day.
  • Ask your primary care provider if this is right for you.

Impaired Hearing

What to do:

  • Schedule regular hearing checks.

Dizziness

What to do:

  • Contact your primary health care provider with any symptoms of dizziness. He or she will evaluate this and determine the cause.
  • If the cause is thought to be due to inner ear problems you may be referred to and ENT physician specializing in this and/or a physical therapist specializing in vestibular or inner ear problems.
  • Make sure you are steady and not dizzy when coming to a stand before you begin to walk.

Altered Mental Status

What to do:

  • Contact your primary health care provider with any symptoms or concerns.

Use of Multiple Medications

What to do:

  • Consult with your primary health care provider and pharmacist for more information regarding the medications you take and their potential side effects and interactions with each other.
  • Your primary health care provider may choose to decrease or change medications if appropriate. You should NEVER change your medication without consulting with your primary health care provider first.

Alcohol Use

What to do:

  • Limit alcohol intake. This may be especially important if you are taking medication.

Impaired Vision

What to do:

  • Schedule regular vision checks.

Chronic and/or Acute Illness

What to do:

  • Consult with your primary health care provider with any symptoms of unsteadiness, weakness or difficulty with walking during your daily tasks.
  • A physical therapist referral may be appropriate.

Recent Falls

What to do:

  • Assess the cause of the fall and make appropriate corrections to personal risk factors or the environment if appropriate.

Environmental Hazards

What to do:

  • Click on the link below for a home safety assessment and make any modifications necessary.

Home Safety Assessment – How safe is your home?

Leave a Reply