Did you know that the number one cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries to people age 65 and over is falling? During the month of September, we observe National Fall Prevention Awareness Day. At Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS we think that it is a good time to take a look at some misinformation that is out there about seniors and falls. See how much you know with the true/false questions below:
If I am in good overall health and have never had a fall before, my fall risk is relatively low.
FALSE—One in four adults over the age of 65 will fall this year. There are many factors that can increase your risk of falling and not all of them are related to health conditions.
One way I can lower my chances of falling is by staying home more.
FALSE—It’s a fact: over half of all falls happen at home. Throw rugs, slippery showers and tubs, piles of magazines or other clutter on the floor and electrical cords are just a few of the hazards that you may not even think about until they cause a fall. Ask a family member or friend to do a walk-through your home and help you spot any potential safety issues. Consider increasing lighting, putting a coat of non-slip paint on outside stairs and adding a railing to the other side of staircases.
Staying current with all my medical appointments can decrease my risk of falls.
TRUE—being sure your vision is good, carefully monitoring chronic conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes and, of course, getting podiatric problems evaluated promptly are all excellent ways to help ensure you won’t take a tumble. If you receive a prescription from your doctor, ask if dizziness is a possible side effect and also if it will interact with any other medications you may be taking.
Too bad I let myself become inactive. I know I would be better off if I was more active but now it’s too late.
FALSE—it’s never too late to start an exercise program and you can regain some muscle strength and flexibility which will help you reduce the risk of falling. There are also specific classes and types of exercise that can improve your balance. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best type of activity for you. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, can advise you about the proper shoes to wear for walking and other activities.
Falling doesn’t have to be inevitable as you get older. Take steps now to prevent falls in your future. To learn more about senior foot health and how it impacts your fall risk, contact our Wayne, New Jersey office by calling: (973) 595-1555.