One of my older adult patients’ most significant concerns is falling. They know that a fall could result in a fracture, head injury, and even the loss of their independence. With up to 25 percent of seniors falling yearly, this is a legitimate concern. But, the good news is that falls can be preventable.
Research shows that there are specific interventions that can reduce or prevent falls. Here are a few:
- Regular exercise combines muscle strengthening, gait and balance training, cardio, and movement. A goal of at least three hours each week is best. You can participate in exercise through individual programs, structured physical therapy, or group classes.SilverSneakers® is a free health and fitness program designed for adults 65+ with dozens of insurance plans, including many Medicare Advantage Plans.
- An assessment of the home environment can also reduce falls. For example, decluttering the home, having adequate lighting, removing loose rugs, and keeping loose objects picked up can prevent mechanical falls. Proper footwear with a good grip can avoid slipping. Adding assistive devices such as grab bars, railings, and shower seats can promote a safer environment for many patients.
Your doctor can help assess your fall risk and offer recommendations. This visit should include a review of medications. For example, we know that certain medications such as psychotropics and sedatives carry a high fall risk and should be discontinued, if possible. They may also discuss reducing or discontinuing alcohol use. They can also focus on managing medical issues that contribute to falls, such as poor vision, malnutrition, low blood pressure, and peripheral neuropathy.
Boulder County Falls Prevention Week 2022
Boulder County Falls Prevention week features a schedule of free educational classes, events, and resources. CLICK HERE for details.
As a board-certified Internal Medicine physician, Dr. Longenecker focuses on preventative medicine. Her goal is to keep patients in their best possible health to enjoy life, which means addressing diet, exercise habits, and mental health.