Tips for fall prevention

Fall prevention is pivotal to reduce injuries and fatalities.

October 19, 2017 - Author: Diane Relliger, Michigan State University Extension

It is a common misconception that as a person grows older they will likely experience a fall, and potentially injury themselves. It is true that as a person ages they may have a decrease in muscle strength, flexibility and balance, but it is not true that falling is a normal part of the aging process. Fall prevention awareness strategies and community instructional programs work hand in hand to help older adults overcome the fear of falling, maintain independence and regain confidence to stay active.

Since 75 percent of falls take place inside the home, or in close proximity, it is important to start your fall prevention strategies by assessing the home environment, and then involve your healthcare team and family. Small changes can easily rectify potential tripping hazards or dangerous areas in your home often at minimal or no cost.

The National Council on Aging (NCA) provides the following six tips to prevent a fall.

  1. Find a good balance and exercise program
  2. Talk to your healthcare provider (share if you have fallen and if you fear falling again)
  3. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist
  4. Get your vision and hearing changed annually and update your eyeglasses
  5. Keep your home safe (assess your living space for potential falling hazards
  6. Talk to your family members (honest conversation about feeling steady on your feet)

The first tip from NCA is to find a good balance and exercise program that you can enroll in to improve and maintain strength, balance and flexibility. Michigan State University Extension offers two exercise and balance programs that are proven to work: A Matter of Balance and Tai Chi for Arthritis. Contact your local MSU Extension office for more information.

Review and incorporate these fall prevention tips soon to help identify and reduce your risk factors for falling and injury. 

Tags: aging, food & health, msu extension

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