AVOID FALLS – Part 2 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 avoid falls.

  • Faulty footwear. Footwear is implicated in 50% of all falls. Shoes should have a high heel collar, a tight fastening mechanism, a slip resistant sole, and be lightweight and comfortable. Avoid high heels, flip flops, slick bottom slippers, or loose sandals.
  • Assistive devices. Three things need to happen to have assistive devices work: 1.) you have to use them – don’t keep them in the closet. 2.) They have to be fitted to you – you can’t have a cane up to your chest or down at your knees. 3.) You need to learn how to use them properly, or they might actually cause a fall instead of preventing one!
  • Living space. 60% of the time, falls happen in the home. It is important to make sure your living space is free from clutter. Check that throw rugs are secure, lighting is appropriate, and that bathrooms are equipped with handrails and grab bars. Keep frequently used items low and accessible in the kitchen so you don’t need to climb a step stool to reach them.
  • Level of Activity. Keep moving! The definition of a sedentary lifestyle is considered less than 25 minutes of activity a day, so participate in activities like T’ai Chi, yoga or pilates, chair aerobics, pole Walking, and gardening –all of which help maintain your strength and balance.
  • Step Wise-Lee. The “Step Wise-Lee” falls prevention initiative is a collaboration of multiple partners working to keep seniors safe and healthy. Shell Point hosted the initial “Step Wise-Lee” symposiums promoting this program, and it is currently the State of Florida’s “Baby Boomer” falls prevention program and was inducted into the National Council on Aging’s “Falls Prevention Hall of Fame.”

Click here for Part 1 of this article.