Health Tip: Preventing Falls Among the Elderly

-- Of all fall-related deaths, more than 60 percent involve people who are 75 years old or older. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury among the elderly.

As people age, factors that contribute to falls include problems with gait and balance, neurological and musculoskeletal disabilities, medication use, dementia and visual impairment. Environmental hazards such as slippery surfaces, uneven floors, poor lighting, loose rugs and unstable furniture may play a role.

No matter what factors contribute to falls, here's how you can help prevent them:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Perform a home safety check. Remove things that might be tripped over; store items that are used often in cabinets that can be reached easily without a step stool; install grab bars in the tub or shower; use non-slip mats on bathtubs and shower floors; and install handrails and lights on all stairs and outside.
  • Have your health-care provider review all of your medicines, including those sold over the counter.
  • Wear sturdy shoes with thin, non-slip soles.

Posted: October 2010


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