Dr. Lisa Granville: Hello! I am Doctor Lisa Granville from the American Geriatrics Society. Today I'm at Westminster Oaks an active living continuing care Retirement Community in Tallahassee Florida. And I'm going to talk to you about falls prevention.
Falls are leading cause of injuries in older adults that can lead to hospitalization, nursing home admission and even death among older people. The changes of falling increases as we get older, health problems such as arthritis, heart disease, muscle weakness, poor balance or vision, foot problems, Parkinson's disease, dementia and even certain medications can increase your chances of falling.
If you fall let your health care provider know right away tell them what might have caused your fall. For example, perhaps you tripped over something or got dizzy and lost your balance.
Bring all of the medications you're currently taking to your next doctor's appointment, this includes vitamins and over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription medications. Your health care provider can review your medications to see if any might increase your chance of following. If so you your provider may change the dose or prescribe another type of medication for you.
Your health care provider may check your balance, your legs strength and function, your blood pressure, heart rate and the way you walk to assist your risk for fall.
Simple solutions like rising out of bed slowly can help your balance and steadiness. Ask your health care provider to recommend a strength and balance program. He or she may have you work with the physical therapist to learn exercises that you can do at home. Tai chi or Yoga classes may also be recommended.
Most falls happen at home. Fortunately, there are many easy steps you can take to help make your home safer from falls. Keep cords away from areas where you walk, tack down all rugs and carpets and only use rugs with non-skid backing, use night lights, install handrails throughout your home, add grab bars near the toilet and bathtub. Wear firm shoes that are not slippery on the bottom. And those are just of few of the ways you can prevent falls.