Falls: Know the Warning Signs
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Anyone can fall, but as one ages, the risk increases. Falls are the leading cause of serious injury among seniors (e.g., those over the age of 65).
The good news is most falls can be prevented.
Knowing the 6 warning signs of falls is the first step to help determine one’s fall risk.
6 Warning Signs of Falls:
(For individuals over 65 years of age)
- Previous Falls: One fall in the past 6 months
- Fear of Falling: Afraid that you will fall
- Medications/Drugs: Using sedatives, fluid pills, recreational drugs, blood pressure pills or more than 4 medications.
- Balance and Mobility: Any problems with balance or unable to raise from a chair
- Medical Conditions: For example, Stroke or Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Vision Problems: Blurred/double vision, difficulty seeing steps or walking in dim light
If two or more of the above warning signs are present with an individual, they may have an increased risk for falling and they should speak to their health care provider.
Falls Prevention Partners
Tips to reduce the risk of falling
In addition to knowing the warning signs that increase fall risk, the following tips will help you identify safe practices to reduce the risk of falling:
- Slow down and take time to be safe.
- Be physically active for a total of 30 to 60 minutes most days.
- Have your vision and hearing checked regularly.
- Discuss your medication & supplements with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet, drink plenty of water & limit your alcohol.
- When walking outside, be aware of your surroundings and watch where you step.
- Use safety equipment such as canes, walkers, grab bars & rubber bath mats.
- Wear non-slip shoes, boots & slippers that fit well & seek treatment for foot problems.
- Use a night-light and keep a flashlight by your bed.
- Complete a home safety checklist.
Source: Grey Bruce Health Unit, (2009)
For further falls information contact the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit 519-258-2146 ext. 3100 or for fall prevention clinics contact the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre at 519-997-2823 x417.