There are an estimated 3 million emergency room visits a year for older adult falls, causing over 36,000 deaths in ages 65+. In the senior population, falls are serious and costly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual medical cost for falls is more than $50 billion.
Knowing about medical and environmental conditions that increase your fall risk is critical. Those risks can include vitamin D deficiency, use of certain medications such as antidepressants or sedatives, vision problems, throw rugs or clutter in your home, and broken or uneven steps.
Dr. Stephen Giorgianni, a primary care provider at Complete Health Ormand Beach West and Complete Health’s Chief Physician for Metro-Daytona, shares some simple tips to prevent falls:
- Keep moving. Maintaining a consistent exercise program will improve your balance, flexibility, and muscle strength. This can include gentle exercises such as tai chi, walking, or water workouts.
- Remove hazards. Keep tripping hazards off the floor, such as cords, boxes, or table legs in high-traffic areas. Securing loose rugs with double-sided tape or removing the rugs completely will reduce the risk of tripping.
- Good lighting. Keep flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of a power outage, and always turn on the lights before walking through a room or going up or down the stairs. Ensure the path to the light switch is clear of tripping hazards and obstacles.
- Don’t skip your annual wellness visit. Understanding your health conditions and medications can decrease your fall risk. Your provider can help you develop an exercise plan or recommend mobility assistance devices such as a walker, cane, and wheelchair to reduce falls in the home.
Falling puts you at risk for serious injury. If you have an injury from a fall, visit your primary care provider to discuss treatment and fall prevention. To find a Complete Health primary care location nearest you, visit www.completehealth.com.