by Dr. Deepa Pattani, Guest Author
Falling is NOT an inevitable result of aging. Yet, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors. In the U.S, an older adult is treated every 13 seconds in an emergency room for a fall related injury. Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
Most people over age 65 have likely either already taken a tumble or spent time worrying about doing so. Falling is scary, especially if you live alone. Reduce your risk of injury by being proactive about making appropriate lifestyle modifications, educating yourself about falls prevention, and managing your medications effectively.
COMMON CAUSES OF FALLS
Lower body weakness
Difficulty balancing or walking.
Hazards in your home such as broken or uneven steps, floor clutter, or the lack of handrails in the bathroom or staircase
Foot pain or inappropriate footwear
Vitamin D deficiency
Medications such as: tranquilizers, sedatives, heart medicine, and/or psychotropic drugs
HOW TO DECREASE YOUR RISK
Ask your physician to assess your risk of falling
Build flexibility and strength by participating in a balance or exercise program
Discuss medications and possible interactions with your physician or pharmacist – include over the counter drugs and supplements
Check your vision and hearing annually
Wear properly fitted and comfortable shoes appropriate for your lifestyle
Make your home safe: get rid of floor clutter, put grab bars/ railings in the bathroom and by stairs, install proper lighting, secure throw rugs to the floor and place food and other items within easy reach
Falls, or even fears about falling, threaten our safety and independence. An increasing number of older adults worry about falling, and limit their activities and social engagements as a result.
Do not wait until you fall to take action! Take good care of yourself and your health. Enlist support from friends and family to help you lower your risk of falling and avoid becoming one of the statistics.
Deepa Pattani, PharmD, RPh is the owner of PrevInteract Health. Dr. Pattani works one on one with patients, care-givers and other businesses to help prevent drug-drug, drug-food and drug-supplement interactions. 972-372-9775.