A simple thing can change your life, like tripping on a rug or slipping on a wet floor. More than one in three people age 65 years or older fall each year, and the risk of falling rises with age. Fear of falling becomes more common as people age too, and it may lead to people avoiding activities such as walking or taking part in social activities. Don’t let a fear of falling keep you from being active and enjoying your life.
Here are some helpful tips to prevent falls, slips, or trips:
- Stay physically active. Regular exercise improves muscles and makes you stronger. It also helps keep your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible.
- Have your eyes and hearing tested. Even small changes in sight and hearing may cause you to fall. When you get new eyeglasses or contact lenses, take time to get used to them. If you have a hearing aid, be sure it fits well and wear it.
- Find out about the side effects of any medication you are taking. Some drugs may cause drowsiness and increase your chances of falling.
- Get a good night’s rest.
- Limit the amount you drink. A small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes.
- Stand up slowly. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop and leave you feeling unbalanced as a result.
- Use a walker or cane if you need help feeling steady when you walk. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional on the right way to use the walker or cane.
- Be very careful when walking on wet or icy surfaces.
- Wear non-skid, rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes, or lace-up shoes with non-skid soles that fully support your feet. It is important that the soles are not too thin or too thick.
- Don’t walk on stairs or slippery floors in socks or slippers with smooth soles.
Always tell a friend, family member, or doctor if you have fallen, even if you don’t think you are hurt. A fall can allow your doctor to review medications or make recommendations to help prevent more falls in the future.