“The Emergency Department staff at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien treats numerous moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, that can increase the risk of early death,” states Ben Harris, Emergency Room Trauma Coordinator. “September 21-27 was Fall Prevention Awareness Week, an opportunity to heighten awareness that falls are largely preventable. In 2013, 51% of all traumatic injuries were related to falls.”
1. Begin a Regular Exercise Program
Exercise is one of the most important ways to lower your chances of falling. It makes you stronger and helps you feel better. Exercises that improve balance and coordination (like Tai Chi) are the most helpful. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling. Ask your doctor or health care provider about the best type of exercise program for you.
2. Have your health care provider review your medications
Have your doctor or pharmacist review all the medicines you take, even over–the–counter medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall.
3. Have your vision checked
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
4. Make your home safer
About half of all falls happen at home. To make your home safer:
- Remove things you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes, and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
- Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping.
- Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
- Have grab bars put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
- Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang light-weight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
- Have handrails and lights put in on all staircases.
- Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
Crossing Rivers Health’s website, crossingrivers.org, includes a variety of health resources including assessments, calculators, infographics and health tips. The Emergency Department staff urges area residents to take a few moments and check out the site for ways to improve health and well-being.