You are at risk of serious injury when you fall. Falls are a leading cause of injury among older people.
As you get older, physical changes and health conditions can sometimes cause additional reasons for fear of falling. Consider putting in place a plan to address and deal with fear of falling. Try to avoid falling.
1. Make an appointment to visit your doctor
Put your fall-prevention plan in place by making an appointment to see your doctor. It could be a time for review and modification of your medications, so prepare to answer the following.
- Remember what medications you are taking – Make a list of your prescription and over-the counter medications and supplements, or bring them with you to the appointment. Your doctor can review your medications for side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling. To help with fall prevention, your doctor may consider weaning you off certain medications for example sedatives and some types of antidepressants.
- If you fell before do you remember the details? Write down the details, including when, where and how you fell. Be prepared to discuss instances when you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time. Details such as these may help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.
- What was the cause of your fall? ]Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, numbness or shortness of breath when you walk? Your doctor may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.
2. Keep on moving
Physical activity helps to sustain muscle strength that go a long way toward fall prevention. Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to practise activities such as walking, water exercises or tai chi. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.
In case you avoid physical activity because you’re afraid of falling you should let your doctor know so he/she can recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist. The physical therapist can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait.
3. Wear sensible walking shoes
Include comfortable walking footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan. Sturdy shoes with non-skid soles provide a better grip on surfaces whether in or out.