Frigid, icy weather is when we typically think about the hazards of slipping and falling. In truth, falling is a risk for seniors throughout the year. So when you’re thinking about getting your walkway shoveled and salted, take a few minutes to think about other ways to stay safe from slips and falls.
Stay active. Regular activity is one of the most important ways to lower your chance of falling. It makes you stronger and helps you feel better. Activities that improve balance and coordination (like tai chi) are the most helpful.
“Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chance of falling,” said Alison A. Tucker, M.D., family medicine. “Ask your doctor or health care provider about the best type of exercise for you.”
Have your health care provider review your medicines. Your doctor or pharmacist should review all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines.
“As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change,” Dr. Tucker said. “Some medicines or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy, which can cause you to fall.”
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chance of falling.
Make your home safer. About half of all falls happen at home. To make your home safer
- Remove things you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes and shoes) from stairs and high-traffic areas.
- Do not use throw rugs.
- Keep items you use often in cabinets you can easily reach without a step stool.
- Have grab bars put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.
- Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
- Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well.
- Have handrails and lights put in on staircases.
- Wear shoes inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers, which can increase your chance of slipping.