Age. The risk for fall increases with age. Normal aging affects our eyesight, balance, strength, and ability to quickly react to our environments.
Activity. Lack of exercise leads to decreased balance, coordination, and bone and muscle strength.
Habits. Excessive alcohol intake and smoking decrease bone strength. Alcohol use can also cause unsteadiness and slow reaction times.
Diet. A poor diet and not enough water will deplete strength and energy, and can make it hard to move and do everyday activities.
Many falls are the result of hazards like slippery or wet surfaces, poor lighting, inadequate footwear, and cluttered pathways in the home.
Most fractures are the result of a fall in the home, usually related to everyday activities such as walking on stairs, going to the bathroom, or working in the kitchen.
Maintaining your health and staying physically active can help to reduce your risk for falling.
Maintain a diet with adequate dietary calcium and Vitamin D, and talk to your primary care doctor about checking your Vitamin D level.
Do not smoke and avoid excessive alcohol intake.
If possible participate in an exercise program that aids agility, strength, balance, and coordination. Climbing stairs, jogging, hiking, dancing, weight training and other activities can help build bone strength and slow progression of osteoporosis, a disorder that causes bones to thin and weaken.
In addition, active pastimes, such as bicycling and gardening, also can improve health and life quality.
Home Modifications to Prevent Falls
Place a lamp, telephone, and flashlight near your bed.
Install a nightlight along the route between your bedroom and your bathroom.
Arrange furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms.
Remove throw rugs or secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or slip-resistant backing.
Do not sit in a chair or sofa that is so low that it is difficult to stand up.
Put non slip treads on stairs.
Install Handrails on both sides of the stairway. Each should be 30 inches above the stairs and extend the full length of the stairs.
Repair loose carpeting or wooden boards immediately.
Install grab bars on the bathroom walls and keep a nightlight in the bathroom.
Use a rubber mat or place nonskid adhesive textured strips inside and around the tub/shower.
Use a sturdy, plastic seat in the bathtub if you cannot lower yourself to the floor of the tub or if you are unsteady.
Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ Stuart Miles