The potential devastation of a fall cannot, and should not, be overstated. Each year over 20,000 older Americans die as either a direct or indirect consequence of a fall, and even those who don’t—the roughly 700,000 who are hospitalized or 2.5 million who visit emergency rooms—may suffer serious and permanent declines in their mobility, strength, coordination, and quality of life.
Unfortunately, far too many people don’t start to take fall prevention seriously until after the first tumble. Don’t let that be you! Here are some tips to help seniors minimize their fall risk and remain stable and mobile as long as possible:
- Practice your balance! Balance is a skill like any other, and performing balance and proprioception exercises every day will help you build that skill at any age.
- Get any painful foot conditions—bunions, heel pain, arthritis, etc.—evaluated and treated.
- Get any other medical conditions that affect perception checked out as well, especially vision or hearing loss.
- Make sure your home is brightly lit when you’re there.
- Remove tripping obstacles from the main pathways of your living space—excess clutter, cables and cords, magazine racks, short tables, etc.
- Place everyday items within easy reach. You should have to lean, stretch, twist, or stand on tiptoes to access food, cooking supplies, clothes, or other important materials.
- Install grab bars, handles, rails, slip resistant mats, or other assistive devices wherever necessary to prevent slipping and ease transitions from sitting to standing.
One more big thing: make an appointment with Family Foot & Ankle Center today for a fall risk assessment. In addition to a physical examination, we’ll talk to you about your symptoms, health status, any medication you’re taking, and other factors that can influence balance and help you piece together an effective fall prevention strategy that’s best for you. For example, you may greatly benefit from a fitting for a balance brace, which slips on under your clothes and helps provide stability for your feet and ankles throughout the day.
Our friendly staff and expert podiatrists are available at six conveniently located offices throughout Greater Cincinnati. To make an appointment, please dial 888-689-3317. You can also request an appointment online.