How to Reduce Your Risk of Falling

By Lynn Allison
Originally posted on NewsmaxHealth, Monday, January 04, 2021
Featuring an interview with Preferred Physical Therapy Owner and CEO Trevor Meyerowitz
Click Here to View the Original Article

According to statistics, one out of four older adults falls every year in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 36 million seniors will fall, resulting in 32,000 deaths this year. Experts say that medications that cause drowsiness are the most common cause of falling in older people so it is important to check with your doctor to see if the drugs you are taking may increase your risk of a tumble.

“As the United States population continues to age, we can expert more deaths from falls,” said Robin Lee, Ph.D., an expert in injury prevention at the CDC. “We can also expect more hospitalizations and nursing home admissions as a result of falls.

Lee said that an estimated $50 billion was spend on medical care related to falls in 2015, but experts say they do not have to happen in the first place.

Trevor Meyerowitz, RPT, tells Newsmax that balance is controlled by the brain and is assisted by our eyesight that informs the brain where we are in relation to objects “The inner ears also assist in establishing equilibrium,” he said. “Even the sensors in our skin, muscles and joints assist the brain with positioning.”

Meyerowitz, the proprietor of Preferred Physical Therapy Associates in Deerfield Beach, Fla. offers these potentially lifesaving tips to reduce your risk of falling:

  • Get regular exercise. “This helps improve muscle strength and keeps your joints, tendons, and ligaments more flexible,” the physical therapis. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking, water workouts, or the gentle art of tai chi can reduce your risk of falling. If you are afraid to exercise, consult a physical therapist who can create a custom exercise program for you.
  • Wear sensible shows. Your footwear can be part of your fall prevention plan. Avoid high heels, flip-flops, and shoes with slippery soles, say the experts at the Mayo Clinic.
  • Check for home hazards. Remove all obstructions from hallways and high-traffic area. Use double-backed tap to secure runners and carpeting. Store frequently used items within easy reach so you do not have to climb a ladder or step stool.
  • Get balance training. Your physical therapist can devise a program to help improve your balance skills, says Meyerowitz.
  • Light up your life. Make sure that you keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on hard-to-see objects. The Mayo Clinic also advises using strategically placed night lights in the bedroom, hallways, and bathrooms.
  • Get enough sleep. People fall more frequently when they are groggy, says Meyerowitz.
  • Have your eyes and hearing tested. Meyerowitz tells Newsmax that changes in hearing and eyesight affect one’s balance.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes, says the expert.
  • Watch where you walk. The surface you are walking on can affect your balance. Avoid uneven surfaces such as sand, sidewalk, or grass. Wet or icy surfaces are even more dangerous.
  • Watch your blood pressure. “Blood pressure is a factor in falling that many people ignore,” says Meyerowitz. “When you stand up your BP drops and can make you dizzy and lead to falls so get up slowly.”
  • Use assistive devices. If you balance is poor, your doctor might recommend a cane or walker to help keep you steady. Handrails for both sides of stairways and nonslip treads for floors are helpful. Install grab bars in the shower or tub, says the Mayo Clinic, and use a raised toilet seat.

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