Many times, the patients we see who are homebound and need our help have suffered an injury due to a fall. That’s because as you get older, you change physically and often have medical conditions you need to manage.
According to the Mayo Clinic and other experts, making a fall-prevention plan is a great way to reduce your risks. Make an appointment with your doctor to go over some important topics.
Make a list of all the prescription medications and non-prescription supplements you are taking and bring the list with you. Sometimes, your medications may have side effects, like dizziness when standing, for example, that increase your risk of falling. If you are taking certain medicines that are affecting your thinking, the doctor may make a medication adjustment.
If you have fallen before, try to remember the details. Where were you and how did you fall? If you were falling or close to falling and someone caught you or you grabbed onto something to stop yourself, record those instances as well. These details may help your doctor recommend some fall-prevention strategies.
Current Health Conditions
Some eye and ear disorders affect balance. If you feel dizzy, experience shortness of breath or numbness when walking, or if you have joint pain, share that information with your doctor. An evaluation of your balance, walking style or muscle strength may be in order.
There are many other ways to decrease your risk of falls. They include:
- Physical activity – walking, tai chi, and exercising in a pool improves strength, balance, and flexibility. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise.
- Footwear – Properly fitting, sturdy shoes with non-skid soles reduce the risk of falls.
- Improve your home environment – Some suggestions include removing coffee tables, magazine racks, and other obstacles from high-traffic areas; securing or removing scatter rugs; using non-slip bath mats in your bathtub or shower; and keeping your home well-lit so that obstacles can be seen.
If you are leaving a hospital or facility and returning home and have safety concerns, please ask your doctor for a referral to occupational therapy services. Our highly-skilled staff can assess your environment and work with you on strategies to prevent a fall.
We’re dedicated to improving your quality of life and helping you live with the highest level of confidence and independence possible.