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Fall Prevention

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Fall Prevention

Fall prevention is an important topic to consider as you get older. Physical changes and health conditions — and sometimes the medications used to treat those conditions — make falls more likely as you age. In fact, falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. Still, fear of falling doesn't need to rule your life. Instead, consider these six simple fall prevention strategies from Mayo Clinic.

1. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider

Start by making an appointment with your healthcare provider. To assess your risk and discuss fall prevention strategies, your health care provider may want to talk about the following:

  • Your medications.

  • Any previous falls.

  • Your health conditions.

2. Keep moving

Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With your healthcare provider's feedback, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. These activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

If you avoid physical activity because you're afraid it will make a fall more likely, tell your healthcare provider. Your provider may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist.

Our physical therapists at Campbell County Health Rehabilitation Services can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility and muscle strength.

3. Wear sensible shoes

Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall prevention plan. High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in your socks or stockings. Instead, wear properly fitting, sturdy, flat shoes with nonskid soles.

4. Remove home hazards

Take a look around your home for potential fall hazards. To make your home safer:

  • Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.

  • Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stand from high-traffic areas.

  • Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home.

  • Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away.

  • Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.

  • Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.

  • Use non-slip mats in your bathtub or shower. Use a bath seat, which allows you to sit while showering.

5. Light up your living space

Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.

  • Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways.

  • Place a lamp within reach of your bed in case you need to get up in the middle of the night.

  • Make clear paths to light switches that aren't near room entrances. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.

  • Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.

  • Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.

6. Use assistive devices

Your healthcare provider might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices can help, too. Many of these devices can be found at Campbell County Health Home Medical Resources.

For example:

  • Handrails for both sides of stairways

  • Non-slip treads for bare-wood steps

  • A raised toilet seat or one with armrests

  • Grab bars for the shower or tub

  • A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down

If necessary, ask your healthcare provider for a referral to an occupational therapist. An occupational therapist can help you brainstorm other fall prevention strategies. Some solutions are easily installed and relatively inexpensive. Others may require professional help or a larger investment. If you're concerned about the cost, remember that an investment in fall prevention is an investment in your independence.


CCH has resources to help prevent falls:

Rehabilitation Services, 307-688-8000

Home Medical Resources, 307-688-6260