AVOID FALLS – Part 1 of 2

Falls are not a normal part of aging and can be prevented. Knowledge about the risk factors for falls and how to prevent them can help stop this terrible cycle in its tracks. Injury Prevention Analyst/Educator Mark Tesoro from Lee Memorial Health System Trauma Center visited Shell Point and shared these key tips to A.V.O.I.D. F.A.L.L.S.:

Awareness of risk factors – One out of three seniors fall each year; 20% of those who do fall are injured so badly they are hospitalized. Half of those hospitalized pass away within a year from either a second fall or complications from the fall.

Vision – get a full vision screen not only your prescription, but also for glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and macular degeneration. You have to see to be able to ambulate through your world.

Other Medical Problems – can predispose you to falling, including stroke (weakness typically on one side of the body or other), blood pressure (either high or low can cause falls), neuropathy (the signals from the extremities not being received by the brain), dementia (not remembering how to use a chair or bed will cause falls), parkinson’s (the associated stiffness and ridgidity can cause stumbling and falls).

Imbalance – is 1st thing people think about when they think about falls. You do not need to be a physician to identify someone with poor balance – someone walking from piece of furniture to furniture holding on, or someone standing with an unusually wide stance to get balance. Often, ladies will walk holding on to each other for support. All should be indications of possibly needing a balance evaluation.

Drug Interactions – prescription medication have side effects, and those side effects can cause you to fall. Annually review your medications with your doctors to make sure you know how to properly take your medications. If you are experiencing side effects, ask your doctor how to eliminate them.

Check back next week for more information about falls prevention.