Stepping up to prevent falls
Marshall Medical Center is stepping up efforts to prevent falls and offers some tips for home safety.
Did you know that falls among older people (age 65 and older) are the leading cause of injuries in this age group? Falls are also responsible for nearly 30 percent of injury-related deaths among the elderly.
As America continues to grey, these numbers continue to climb; in fact, the elderly death rate from falls increased by 55 percent between the years 2000 and 2007.
Marshall Medical Center is stepping up efforts to educate the community and help prevent falls among seniors. Marshall is in the process of being certified to offer a special Community Fall Prevention Education Program, known as “Stepping On,” and is planning on offering the first classes in 2014.
Meanwhile, Marshall Outpatient Rehabilitation Services in Placerville has plenty of physical therapists who are specially trained at assessing a person’s balance system, strength and vision, to help them assess and reduce their fall risk.
They offer the following tips to incorporate into your life and home to reduce fall risk for yourself or loved ones:
• Wear your glasses: See an eye doctor annually.
• Watch for trip hazards: Be careful of pets, young children and floor clutter.
• Wear sturdy shoes: Choose shoes with non-skid soles, good arch support and low heels.
• Stand up slowly: Dizziness upon rising is common, especially if you take certain medications. Slowly sit up before standing, to make sure you have your balance.
• Carry a portable phone: Avoid hurrying to answer a phone; keep a handset with you or keep a cell phone with you.
• Pace yourself: Fatigue can affect your balance, so don’t overdo it.
• Review Medications: Make sure your physician knows all the medications you take, including over the counter supplements.
• Exercise: A regular exercise program can help you stay strong.
• Carry small loads: Heavy or awkward armfuls can impede your balance.
• Keep home well lit: Make sure you have adequate lighting in your home. Use night lights for nighttime trip avoidance.
• Use grab bars: Install grab bars in showers and next to the toilet.
• Avoid rug hazards: Remove scatter rugs or secure them so they don’t move. Use non-skid rugs in the bathroom.
• Use a cane or walker if needed: It may be difficult to adjust to but a cane or walker can be an important asset as you age.
• Keep things handy: If you use something a lot, keep it within reach to avoid using step stools.
• See a physical therapist: If you need help or ideas about your balance issues and fall prevention, discuss with your physician, who can provide a referral to a physical therapist. They can help.
Marshall Physical Therapy recently moved to 1000 Fowler Way, Suite 6, in Placerville. You can reach them at 530-344-5430.