TIPS FOR PREVENTING FALLS IN SENIORS

1. Wear a good pair of lace-up walking shoes that will support your feet and provide necessary cushioning for your joints, when walking outside.

2. Avoid high heels, slippers and open-toed sandals which can cause you to trip. For indoor use invest in a pair of non-slip supportive slippers or slip-on sandals or shoes with arch support, the latter especially if you have problem feet. Remove any tripping hazards eg. rugs and cords.

3.Use aids for walking, balancing, hearing and seeing– remove reading glasses when walking. Always be diligent about using the brakes on walkers and wheelchairs.

4.In winter, sprinkle kitty litter or salt and sand to the curb. It might also help to sprinkle some on the snow/ice on the route to and from the car if it is parked outside.

5. Ensure the tips on canes and crutches are large and spiked for icy conditions; however, remove the spikes as soon as you enter a building. Otherwise, ensure the tips on walking aids are not worn down, still have good grip and are free of debris.

6. Sit, rather than stand, while dressing.

7. When moving from lying to sitting, or sitting to standing, do this slowly eg one can wait 10 secs before changing position. Always ensure one has one’s balance before moving away from the chair, bed or toilet.

8. Install handrails and grab-bars in the stairways and bathrooms if needed.

9. Ensure  the stairways are well lit, as well as the route to the bathroom from your room, installing necessary night lights as needed.

10. Immediately wipe up any spills, especially on ceramic floors.

11. Avoid taking unnecessary risks, like standing on furniture. Use a sturdy stepladder, or ask for help.

12. Plant both feet securely on the ground before getting out of the car.

13. Put everyday items on shelves between waist height and eye level.

14. Manage medications properly.

15. Be mindful around pets.

16. It is a good idea to have one button on your phone that can be programmed with the telephone number of a relative or friend that you would call in case of an emergency. In more severe cases, where you may be prone to repeated falls, one can invest in a device that you can have on your person that can be pressed to alert someone if you have fallen eg. Lifeline

If you know that your balance is/ has been affected by your medical history, or by your physical condition, please visit one of our physiotherapists so that we can assess your strength, flexibility, balance and gait, and prescribe a program of exercises and activities designed to improve your physical function, so that you can have a better quality of life, and feel more safe and secure.

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