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Every year, thousands of older adults fall and hurt themselves. Falls are one of the main causes of injury and loss of independence in people ages 65 and older.
There are many reasons older people fall. They may lose their footing when stepping off a street curb. Or they may fall after getting dizzy from taking medicines. Some falls may be related to the effects of aging, such as muscle weakness or delayed reflexes. Or falls may be related to the results of a stroke.
Experts agree that some falls in older adults can be prevented. But since each person's risks are a bit different, talk to your doctor about what might be most helpful for you.
Practice getting up from a fall. You can start by gently lowering yourself to the floor. If you're unsteady, have someone with you when you practice. If you're able to get up without help, practice this once a week or enough to feel comfortable.
If you can't get up by yourself, see a physiotherapist for help. A physiotherapist can work with you to prevent falls and make a plan for what you can do if you do fall.
These tips can help reduce your risk of falling when you're outdoors.
When you go outdoors, keep your hands free by using a cross-body shoulder bag, a fanny pack, or a backpack. Make sure your bag or pack is balanced and not too heavy. Keep your hands out of your pockets for better balance.
If you wear bifocal or progressive lenses, you may have problems as you step off curbs or climb stairs. See about getting glasses with a single prescription that you can wear when you walk.
Find out about drugstores and grocery stores near you that can take orders over the phone and make deliveries to your home. Use these services, especially when the weather is bad.
If you live in an area that gets snow and ice in the winter, have a family member or friend sprinkle salt or sand on slippery steps and sidewalks.
Then you can quickly call for help if you need it.
Adaptation Date: 6/15/2023
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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