Accidental falls are a fact of life, no matter your age or fitness level. However, as we grow older, the stakes grow higher when we take a tumble.
Recovering from a fall could jeopardize an active lifestyle of brisk morning walks, leisurely strolls with the grandkids, and those pickleball championships.
But you can prevent many of these falls — whether it’s a loved one or yourself — by implementing some simple safety measures. After all, what better way to mark National Senior Health and Fitness Day on May 25 than by learning how to spare yourself or a loved one the pain and frustration of a nasty spill.
“Whether it’s a quick slip or a more dramatic fall, it is always best to check in with your physician or seek medical attention. Methodist Health System has implemented a program to keep older trauma patients steady on their feet.” — J. Darryl Amos, MD, DABS, FACS, CPE, executive director of trauma services at Methodist Health System
“Whether it’s a quick slip or a more dramatic fall, it is always best to check in with your physician or seek medical attention. Methodist Health System has implemented a program to keep older trauma patients steady on their feet.”
— J. Darryl Amos, MD, DABS, FACS, CPE, executive director of trauma services at Methodist Health System
The Geriatric Trauma Program at Methodist Dallas provides patient-centered care, and the G60 unit features a specialized nursing staff and slip-resistant floors, among other amenities, to protect patients from accidental falls. Here are five ways to prevent falls around the home:
Decluttering and organizing your home will help avoid trips and stumbles that can turn ugly fast. Walk through your home and keep your eyes on the ground. What can you clear or move to keep pathways as open as possible?
Your bathroom decor should not only be charming but functional, too. Add a few upgrades, like safety bars near the bathtub, shower, and toilet. Throw in a nonslip mat inside of the shower to provide extra traction. Keep frequently used items like shampoo, conditioner, and soap in an easy-to-reach place.
Practice ladder safety
If you sometimes feel uneasy on your feet, it’s a good idea to seek out someone who’s steadier for any job requiring a ladder. Always invite a friend, family member, or neighbor over to help keep the ladder steady and help as you ascend and descend. Serious falls could mean a trip to the emergency room, as was the case for this Mansfield couple learned the hard way when they each fell off the same step ladder weeks apart.
Calling for help
It’s a good idea to remind older loved ones to keep a phone close by or in their pocket at all times in case of a fall. This will help them reach emergency services if the need arises. Medical alert devices and a wearable call button are also great options. Some insurance companies cover the costs or offer them at a discount. Ask your provider or physician about your options.
Talk to your doctor
Getting a physical check-up every year is beneficial to keeping you healthy and evaluating your medications. Talking to your doctor about your fall risk during your annual checkup is vital to reducing your risk of falling and can help you understand what risk factors you may have for falling. Ask your doctor what you can do to mitigate those factors.
Learn more about the trauma program on the Methodist Dallas website. For more resources on preventing falls, visit the CDC website.