Working almost exclusively with seniors, my number one goal as an Occupational Therapist is fall prevention. Time and time again, I see that with a fall comes a decline in mobility, which leads to difficulty in self care like being able to dress or toilet yourself, difficulty negotiating stairs and so on. In order to maintain the best quality of life we can, fall prevention is essential. The good news is that many falls can be prevented. Here are some ideas:
- Have your vision checked. You are less likely to trip over things if you are able to see them properly.
- Talk to your doctor about side effects of medications that you are taking. Dizziness or a sudden drop in blood pressure may lead to a fall.
- Is your home well lit? Again, it is easier to avoid obstacles if you can see them.
- Do you have equipment to make the bathroom, home a safe place? A raised toilet seat or a shower seat not only improves independence with getting on and off the toilet or in and out of the tub, but it improves confidence. A reaching device like the Juvo Reacher, (referred to commonly as an ez grabber or reacher grabber), is also a good idea. It helps you reach for things without using a ladder or step stool which can be dangerous. http://www.juvoproducts.com/reacher-32-pages-20.php
- Do your stairs have proper hand rails? I even hold on to the rail when I am going up and down the stairs.
- Are you suing your recommended walking device like a walker or cane or do you need a device? Your doctor would happily refer you to a physical therapist to be assessed for a walking device if you need one.
- If you are a diabetic, are you managing your blood sugar properly? Blood sugar that is too low or too high can put you at risk for a fall.
- Are you exercising regularly? I always say, “good strength = good balance.” See other recent Live Actively blog articles on exercise.
- Are you eating and drinking liquids regularly? Malnutrition or dehydration can cause weakness or a drop in blood pressure that can put you at risk for a fall.
- Is your home environment clutter free? Less obstacles means less risk of falling.
- As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This is the first post regarding Fall Prevention 101. Please stay tuned for more strategies, tips on the subject.
Kristi – Occupational Therapist