Five Tips for Falls Prevention

Falls are one of the main causes of injury in people over age 65, which can lead to a reduced quality of life and physical function. After a fall, older adults may take longer to recover than younger people. Fear of falling is a common concern. We’ve noticed that patients sometimes avoid telling their doctor that they fell because they feel ashamed about it and worry about losing their independence.

There are many reasons people fall. Some reasons and risk factors may include health conditions such as arthritis, depression, poor balance, muscle weakness, unsteady walking, memory problems, poor vision and hearing. Also, previous falls, some medications and indoor and outdoor hazards may increase the risk of a fall.

Here are some falls prevention tips provided by VOICES 60+ Senior Advocacy Program and the Department of Social Work Programs at HSS:

  1. Talk with your doctor about your health concerns. Your doctor can help you understand why you may be falling, and what you can do to prevent further falls.
  2. Stay active and connected. Take a walk, join a club, or start an exercise program. Physical activity can prevent falls by increasing mood, maintaining good balance, flexibility, strength and endurance. A referral to a physical therapist if indicated can be helpful.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings and do a self-check. Tie shoelaces, tuck in clothes and wear clothing that is the right length. Also, use canes, walkers and other supportive devices correctly.
  4. Make your home fall-proof. Remove clutter, extra furniture and throw rugs. Add these safety devices to your home: nightlights in halls, bedroom and bathrooms, and handrails and bathroom grab-bars. Look at your home as if you are a visitor; what can you do to make it safer?
  5. Talk about your concerns and get support from the healthcare team. Social workers can help you explore feelings about falling, provide skills and tools to prevent falls and collaborate with your doctor, and nurse to come up with a safety plan that meets all of your needs.

The first step to falls prevention is to be aware of the issue, talk with your healthcare provider and then consider following these tips to help keep you safe.

For more information on falls prevention, visit us at: https://www.hss.edu/voices60.asp

Juliette Kleinman is a licensed clinical social worker and the senior social work manager, Rheumatology and has oversight of the VOICES 60+ Senior Advocacy Program at Hospital for Special Surgery.

 

 

 

 

Alba Rosa, senior social worker I, is a licensed clinical social worker and at Hospital for Special Surgery.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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