You CAN Reduce Your Risk of Falling
Many risk ractors are controllable. Here are some strategies to address risk factors:
The following are a list of risk factors most commonly associated with elderly falls:
- Unsteadiness with standing or walking or a change in activity level due to unsteadiness may indicate a balance problem. Poor or ill-fitting footwear can also adversely affect balance and gait.
- Common problems include decreased neck and trunk flexibility, decreased hip and ankle strength and decreased ankle flexibility.
Low Vitamin D Levels
- Vitamin D is important for strong muscles and bones for fall risk reduction.
- It may be difficult to localize the source of a sound or one may not hear a vehicle or person approaching.
- Dizziness can result from many conditions and should be evaluated by your primary health care provider if present. A common problem is low blood pressure when standing causing one to feel lightheaded. Another common source of dizziness is inner ear or vestibular problems. Dizziness caused from vestibular problems can often be treated successfully with exercise.
Altered Mental Status
- Depression or dementia can decrease activity level and one’s ability to attend to environmental changes.
- Many medications have side effects that can impair your coordination and balance or cause dizziness. Medication risk increases with the number of medications that are taken. Four or more have been shown to increase fall risk. Speak with your pharmacist or physician about the medications you are taking.
- Inability to accurately see one’s environment can lead to falls. A change to bifocals may temporarily affect your balance. Changes in depth perception may also contribute toward falls.
- Many chronic neurological conditions (such as Parkinson’s Disease, stroke and head injury) and other chronic illnesses may impair balance. Inactivity or weakness following an acute illness or hospitalization may also impair balance and increase fall risk.
- A fall within the past 6 months may put you at greater risk of another fall. This is especially true if the fall occurs without apparent cause, such as with walking from one room to the next.
Fear of Falling
- Fear of falling can inhibit you from participating in your daily activities of living.
- Excessive alcohol use can also negatively affect balance.
- There are trip hazards in your home that may make it more likely to fall such as throw rugs that stick up or cords not hidden or put away.