According to the CDC, FALLS is the leading cause of accidental death and injury in people 65 and older. Have you ever fallen? When you walk through a room, do you hold onto furniture, counters, or other objects to maintain your balance? Have you had a stroke? Do you use a cane, walker, or other types of devices to help with your balance? Is pride preventing you from using one of these devices when you know you should?
September is falls prevention month.
More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Falls that cause head injuries can be very serious, especially if the person is taking certain medications like blood thinners. An older person who falls and hits their head should see their doctor immediately to make sure they don’t have a brain injury or a brain bleed.
Statistics show that one out of every three persons over the age of 65 falls each year. According to the National Council of Aging, as many as one out of three who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries including head trauma and hip fractures. These patients often require surgery followed by a period of convalescence in a nursing or rehabilitation facility.
Below are some things you can do to reduce your risk of falling:
Have an eye and hearing exam annually.
If you have a medication that makes you sleepy or dizzy, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Create a “safe“ environment in your home by getting rid of rugs on the floor. Rugs cars many falls. Make wide, straight walking paths and ensure there is no low-lying furniture or objects on the floor that you might fall over. Make sure your lighting is adequate, especially at night when you get up to go to the bathroom. Use rails or grab bars inside and outside of your bathtub, shower, and toilet.
Seek professional help. Physical therapy can help strengthen the balance muscles. There are braces that are light, comfortable, and easy to apply, which help reduce your potential to fall as much as 60 to 70%.
Falling is serious. You can never be too certain that “it won’t happen to me." Statistics indicate otherwise. We want to help you prevent your next fall BEFORE it happens. Call one of our doctors here at Indiana Podiatry Group. We are here to help.