Ready, Steady, Balance: Preventing Falls

Posted Sep 21, 2016 | Posted in Fitness & Nutrition, Health & Wellness

Fall PreventionIt’s officially the first day of Fall which means it’s also Fall Prevention Awareness Week. Falls will happen to the best of us and although they may not sound like a serious life-threatening issue, they can lead to many complications such as broken bones, head injuries and limit one’s activity levels. However, most falls are preventable! Here are some tips to help you and your loved ones reduce their risk of falling.

Who is most at risk of becoming a victim of falls?

  • Older adults
  • Individuals with lower body weakness
  • People with vision problems
  • Individuals taking medications such as tranquilizers or sedatives

How can you reduce your risk of falling?

Indoors

  • Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors
  • Keep frequently used items close by
  • Put grab bars on bathroom walls near tub, shower, and toilet
  • Use a nonskid bath mat in the shower or tub
  • Be aware of uneven surfaces
  • Have a pet? It can be helpful to place a small bell on their collar so you know when they are in close proximity and reduce your risk of tripping over them

Outdoors

  • Use a cane or walker
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes with a low heel so you don’t slip
  • Walk on the grass when sidewalks are slick, especially during or after stormy weather
  • In the evenings, walk where there is plenty of light to help you see where you are going
  • Walk in pairs or groups so you can alert each other of potential hazards
  • When walking large pets, use two hands on the leash, spread out with one hand on the handle and the other a couple feet below to increase your stability

In keeping with the hospital’s mission to improve the health of the people in our communities, Johnston Health continually strives to keep our patients safe from falls.  All patients are assessed for their fall risk upon admission, and high-risk patients are identified with a yellow star on their door and wear yellow non-skid slippers.  The yellow star triggers all staff to be alert and take extra precautions to minimize falls.

The risk of sustaining a fall-related injury is far greater than most people think.  Statistics show that one in every three people over the age of 65 will fall this year, but through education and implementation of fall prevention tactics that number can be reduced.  Take the time to speak with your family and friends about falls, and take the necessary measures to create a safer lifestyle and environment for yourself or others who are at risk.

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