Fall Prevention is Crucial for Older Americans

To extend their quality of life, senior citizens need to protect themselves from falls.

The alarming statistics from falls are eye-opening.  The CDC reports, 3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments annually across the US for falls. 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized from falls and many of those are head injuries or hip fractures.  Just in 2015 alone, the medical costs for falls totaled a whopping $50 million and Medicare and Medicaid covered approximately 75% of those costs.  Based on those frightening numbers, it is vital to help spread awareness about the importance of helping prevent older adults from falling.

There are no guarantees to prevent falls although there are a few proactive steps to reduce the risks of falling:

Talk with your physician-One of the best tips we can always share is to check with your doctor or health care provider to evaluate your risk of falling and discuss proactive measures.  It is important to always make medical appointments with your health care team.  The more information you gather from your doctor, nurse, and others about your medicines and condition, the better chance you will have to remain in top-notch shape.

Review medicines-Whether you are taking over-the-counter or prescription medications, it is wise to talk with your pharmacist and physician to determine if any medicines you are taking may make you sleepy, dizzy, or lightheaded.  According to the FDA, as you age, the body changes and can affect how medicines are absorbed.  A change in body weight can significantly influence the amount of medicine you need and how long it says in your body.  No matter if it is an over-the-counter medicine or a prescription, let your doctor know how you feel and how well they are working. 

Visit Your Eye Doctor-As we get older, our eyes get weaker, so it is imperative to visit your eye physician annually.

Make Your Home Safe-You can easily make your home safer by eliminating clutter, increasing light, and installing handrails in the bathroom.

Participate in a Workout Class-One of the best things you can do to prevent falls is strength and balance exercises.  This can be done at your local YMCA or in the privacy of your own home.  Lifting light weights or doing lunges, gradual toe touches, and single-leg stands will help significantly.  One of my favorites that I see older adults doing often is Tai Chi. Tai Chi is the perfect exercise for older adults.  Even if you are experiencing chronic conditions,  it increases flexibility, builds strength, and increases stamina.

Inquire About Taking Vitamin D-This is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin.  When exposed to sunlight, your body produces vitamin D naturally.  In addition to assisting with bone development, vitamin D helps fight disease, reduces depression and boosts weight loss.


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