A fall can happen to anyone, at any age anywhere; however, there are factors that increase the risk of having a fall that can be addressed.
Inactive lifestyles: It is important to keep our bones and muscles strong as well as to maintain good flexibility and range of motion to prevent a fall. For physical activity benefits and guidelines please visit participaction.com
Physical Environment: There are several hazards that can lead to a fall. To keep your environment safe you may want to install grab bars in the shower, tub or near the toilet. Ensure there are handrails along stairways, and remove any area rugs or doormats or ensure the edges are taped down. Removing clutter and keeping pathways clear of cords and furniture as well as ensuring proper lighting can also help keep your environment safe and prevent a fall. Watching for uneven surfaces, curbs and slopes in the sidewalk can also help to prevent you from falling.
Bone Health: As we get older, it is important to promote good bone health to prevent broken bones. You can keep your bones strong by eating a healthy diet with enough vitamin D and calcium, staying physically active, speaking with your doctor about your bone health, quitting smoking and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.
Visual changes: The risk of developing diseases of the eye increase as we age. You can help prevent vision loss by protecting your eyes from sun damage, eating a healthy diet, prevent and/or manage diabetes, and have regular eye exams to detect any visual changes.
Hearing deficits: Hearing difficulties can make everyday activities challenging. It is important to have a hearing assessment if you notice any changes in your hearing. For additional support for hearing loss visit the Canadian Hearing Society website at http://www.chs.ca/programs-and-services
Medications: Although medications are often helpful to make you feel better all medications come with side effects. Many older adults have a fall as a result of blurred vision, drowsiness, dizziness or unsteadiness related to medication interactions or side effects. It is important to discuss all your medications including herbal medications and over the counter medications with your doctor or pharmacist. For additional helpful information on managing your medications visit safemedicationuse.ca
Improper Foot Care: Often falls occur because of poor foot health. It is important to ensure your footwear is comfortable, provides good support and is the proper size. You can keep your feet healthy by ensuring your nails are trimmed straight across and not too short, checking for any redness or open areas daily and staying active. If you notice any discomfort it is important to have your feet checked by your health care provider.