According to the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) each year one in three adults over 65 years in age falls. What might seem like a minor fall can actually have detrimental effects in the individual's health. The CDC brings statistical evidence in their article, Falls among older adults: An overview, mentioning how most fractures among older adults are caused by falls.

The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand. Healthcare providers, family members, and patients can keen into strategies to be active participants in fall prevention. Below are 5 tips to prevent falls in the elderly.

Tip #1: Check your Meds & Inform

Some medications can cause dizziness making individuals prone to falls. Polypharmacy is a major concern particularly with patients that see multiple healthcare professionals. Many seniors are double medicating taking the same medications prescribed by different physicians. It's of upmost priority to inform each healthcare provider of the medications you are currently taking. This will prevent double medicating, which is a serious health concern. I would advise to write a list with your current medications including the pharmaceutical name, dose, frequency of use, and route of administration (oral, sublingual, injection, suppository, etc.). You can carry this list with you at all times and have it handy when seeing any healthcare provider.

Tip #2: Wear Comfortable Shoes

It catches me by surprise when I see people with an unsteady gait fashioning their high heels or cowboy boots. Although glamour can be fun, it can take a toll with individuals prone to falls. Many retailers offer orthopedic shoes that provide arch support and stability when ambulating. This is a great option for seniors that requiring additional support with ambulation, and also a great way to promote foot care. Non-skid socks are a great alternative-providing grip when ambulating at home.

Tip#3: Remove Clutter

Small objects can be overlooked and cause people to trip and fall. Take some time to remove these objects and any clutter that can get in the way. Be sure to secure loose rugs, cables, and electrical cords from walkways. If any liquid spills clean the area promptly. I also recommend people to keep a leave the bathroom light on or nightlight in the event you have to use the restroom in the middle of the night. Also, keep non-slippers near for when you get out of bed.

Tip#4: Keep Essentials Near Bedside

It is helpful to have things accessible near bedside when getting ready for bed. Many people keep useful belongings such as a cell phone, TV remote, glass of water, and eye glasses on their nightstand in the event they have to get up in the middle of the night. Having these essentials handy decrease the likelihood of getting in and out of bed in the late night when one can be groggy and prone to falls.

Tip#5: Leave a Night Light On

I suggest my patients to have a night-light or to turn on the bathroom light prior to going to bed. This provides better visibility if one needs to get out bed the evening to use the restroom or attend to other necessities.

The CDC also encourages grab bars inside the tub or shower and next to toilets, adding railings to stairways, and regular exercise as methods to improve balance and prevent falls. These are some easy tips that can be incorporated in most settings. Family and healthcare providers can be active participants in fall prevention just by applying these five easy tips. If you are the individual at risk for falls I congratulate you for taking interest in fall prevention and taking an active role in your wellness! 

*All suggestions should be discussed with your health care provider prior to putting them to practice. Some individuals require modified lifestyles that are not addressed in this article.