Fall Prevention Checklist
Have You Taken These Important Steps?
Your safety is our utmost concern. Especially for people in their later years, falls can break bones and severely restrict independence. Taking the steps listed below could help you prevent falling and avoid a devastating injury:
- Learn to Recognize Fall Risks
Daily activities as simple as rising quickly from a seated or lying position or bending down too fast to tie your shoes can cause you to lose balance. It goes without saying that you should avoid walking on wet floors or standing on rickety chairs and ladders to change lightbulbs!
- Keep Muscles in Shape
Surprisingly, not getting enough exercise is enough to increase your risk for a fall. Staying inactive over the long term can cause muscles to weaken and lose flexibility. It also reduces your ability to react quickly, should you encounter an uneven surface, slippery floor, or other sudden change in your environment.
Frequent exercise and an active daily lifestyle helps you maintain healthy muscles, keeps you flexible, and improves coordination and balance. Regularly moving your spine, ankle and hip joints activates nerve receptors (thousands per square inch!) that are partly responsible for and also contribute to your sense of balance.
- Fall-proof Your Home
The vast majority of falls occur right where we live. Because of that it’s very important to evaluate your home’s surroundings in order to minimize any possibility of falling – especially if nobody else is around to help you in the event of an injury. The home safety tips below can help you avoid getting seriously hurt.
Home Safety Tips:
1. Install new lights if you need to – especially in stairwells and bathrooms and near the kitchen sink.
2. Make sure any stair handrails are sturdy, and install non-skid tread on each step. Install grab bars in the shower and bath and near toilets. Always use non-skid bathmats and anti-slip bath and shower strips.
3. Arrange your furniture so that it allows for free and safe movement. Keep your walkways clear of electrical cords and other items that could cause you to trip. Use only lower cabinet shelves for items that you use often.
4. Secure all area rugs using rubber backing tape. Avoid rugs with fringes. Don’t use polish on wood floors, tiles and linoleum.
5. Improve bathroom safety by using a raised toilet seat, a shower seat or bath bench, portable bath steps or a walk-in tub. Keep a commode near your bed for use at night if necessary.
6. If you live alone, purchase, rent or lease a personal emergency response system (PERS) to provide you with immediate assistance should you fall.
Keep Your Doctor Informed
It’s very important to keep healthcare professionals informed if your hearing, vision or other physical abilities start to decline. Each of these plays important roles in maintaining balance and preventing falls. In addition, certain prescription and OTC drugs can increase your risk of falling. Make sure your doctor regularly reviews your medications with you to ensure you are taking them correctly and to make any necessary adjustments.
If you’re seeing a doctor for dizziness, the following can help him or her to accurately diagnose your problem:
1. Write down a list of your symptoms and when they began. Provide it at the first visit.
2 .Bring a list of any prescription or OTC medications you currently take (or have recently discontinued)
3. Use precise details when describing your symptoms.
Assess Your Balance –Before a Fall
Dizziness, vertigo and unsteadiness can all indicate that you suffer from a balance disorder. That’s why it makes sense to get a balance screening by a trained specialist before the symptoms lead to a serious fall. Even if you have already fallen, it’s important to know whether a balance related disorder was to blame. A balance screening can identify the source of your symptoms in order for the doctor to successfully treat the vertigo, help you feel better and reduce your chance of injury.
How Can I Know If Your Program is Right for Me?
We understand how difficult it can be to live with dizziness and vertigo, and we’re happy to answer your questions. To learn more about our Balance and Fall Prevention Program, please call 727-787-7077. Or to schedule a personalized consultation with Dr. Spiegel, simply click here. One of our helpful staff members will contact you soon to confirm your appointment.
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