Fall Prevention

| Community News, Health & Wellness

By Trung BUI, DPT

Did you know…

  • Falls are the leading cause of injury and death by injury in adults over age 65?
  • One out of four Americans age 65 and older fall each year?
  • Every second an older adult falls?
    • In 2018, this led to:
      – 36 million falls
      – 8 million injuries
      – 3 million emergency room visits
      – 950,000 hospitalizations
      – 32,000 deaths
  • Older adult falls cost the U.S. $50 billion every year.

The good news: Falling is NOT a normal part of aging, and falls are largely preventable with simple measures. Make your home safer. Over half of falls take place at home.

Consider following these tips to prevent falls at home:

  • Remove things you can trip over from places where you walk.
  • Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
  • Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
  • Have grab bars installed near the toilet and next to and inside the tub/shower.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and/or on shower floors.
  • Fix poor lighting in your home.
  • Wear shoes both inside and outside the home. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
  • Schedule a private home health Occupational Therapy visit to complete a Home Safety Assessment by calling extension 1402.

Poor vision can increase your risk of falling. It is important to have your vision checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update your glasses. You may be wearing the wrong glasses, or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you dizzy or sleepy and can cause you to fall. Have your healthcare provider review your medicines, including over-the-counter medicines. As you get older, the way the medicines work in your body can change. Exercise to improve your balance and strength. Exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance can lessen your chances of falling. It also helps you feel better and more confident. An example of this kind of exercise is Tai-Chi. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances
of falling.

Talk to your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. Here at John Knox Village, you can participate in the many fitness classes including Tai Chi, or come by Oak Park Senior Services Center and schedule a physical therapy evaluation with Trung. During the evaluation, we will develop a personalized program to help with your strength and balance needs.

As a “direct access state” in Florida, you are allowed to go directly to a physical therapist without a physician’s referral first and receive treatment for 30 days. During this time, your therapist will further tune your treatment plan which will then need to be signed by an approved healthcare provider to continue treatment. If you are under the care of a nurse practitioner (such as Oak Park’s Martha Cullen, ARNP) they can sign off on your treatment plan to qualify for direct access. If you have questions about qualifying for direct access to physical therapy, stop by the reception desk at Oak Park Senior Services Center or call extension 2700!