Did you know that one in four Americans over 65 falls each year? One in five of these falls will cause a serious injury, like a broken bone or head injury. According to the National Council on Aging, "Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+."
Even if a person is not injured by the fall, they may develop a fear of falling, which may cause them to stop doing some of the everyday activities that they enjoy. This can lead to depression and a lack of independence.
There are many factors that increase the risk of falls, such as vision problems or certain medications. However, there are many ways to lower the risk of you or a loved one falling.
Remove hazards. Remove throw rugs, or use tape to secure them to the floor. Make sure there's enough lighting in the house, especially in areas where stairs are involved. Install grab bars in bathrooms, add bath mats with extra grip, and consider a shower chair to lower the risk of slipping.
Review medications. Talk to the doctor or pharmacist and ask them to review any medications that are being taken. Some medications may cause dizziness or drowsiness.
Get an eye exam. Getting an eye exam at least once a year will help ensure that you or your loved one is able to see clearly. Be sure to get new glasses if necessary. If your glasses have transitions lenses that change color in bright light, it may be necessary to wait for them to adjust when coming inside.
Do strength and balance exercises. Do exercises that increase leg strength and balance. Consider tai chi, yoga, heel raises, or even just walking. Be sure to check with a doctor to make sure it's safe to start these exercises. Always start slowly and work up to your goal - don't try to do too much at once.