As the sudden death of Ivana Trump laid bare, accidental falls among older adults are sadly common. Nearly 36 million older adults fall each year, resulting in 32,000 deaths and 3 million emergency department visits.
Brush Your Teeth on One Foot. Stand on one foot for half your tooth-brushing time, then switch. This twice-daily exercise regime will increase your balance and potentially help you prevent falls as you get older.
Consider Physical Therapy. Physical therapy (PT) is not only for injury recovery. The balance, strength and flexibility PT provides can help you avoid injury in the first place. So, if you notice your balance or strength are off, ask your doctor about PT.
Exercise. A Little. Exercise has been shown to reduce the rate of falls 23%. Don’t have time to exercise? Do jumping jacks for 10 minutes before you shower. Walk briskly to and from lunch for another 10 minutes each, and – voila! – you’ve just exercised for 30 minutes today.
Question Your Medicine Cabinet. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to review your medications. Combinations of certain medicines can cause side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness that can lead to falls.
Have a Peep at Those Peepers. Vision problems, including poor depth perception can lead to falls. Make sure to stay current on your corrective lens prescriptions and have your eyes examined regularly.
Clean Your house! Many falls can be prevented by eliminating clutter, loose rugs, etc. Adding handrails and other safety measures can also help eliminate falls at home – which account for 50% of all accidental falls.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Hoag physical therapist, call 949-764-5645 or visit www.hoag.org/rehab.