How to prevent falls

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There are ways you can reduce your risk of having a fall, including making simple changes to your home and doing exercises to improve your strength and balance.

If you have fallen in the past, making changes to reduce your chances of having a fall can also help you overcome any fear of falling.

Some older people may be reluctant to seek help and advice from a GP and other support services about preventing falls because they believe their concerns will not be taken seriously.

But all healthcare professionals take falls in older people very seriously because of the significant impact they can have on a person’s health.

Many older adults who are hospitalized for a fall never regain their former level of independence. Losing your independence — it’s one of the biggest fears you may have about aging. Falling is one of the most common causes. Use this checklist to take a fall-prevention inventory of your home:

• All rooms
Keep electrical cords and furniture out of walking paths.
Fasten carpets to the floor with tape or tacks. Don’t use throw rugs.
• Stairways
Make sure that stairways are well lighted with sturdy handrails. Carpet runners should not be loose. If you have a vision problem, apply bright tape to the first and last steps.
• Bathrooms
Install grab handles and nonskid mats inside and just outside your shower and tub and near the toilet. Shower chairs and bath benches minimize the risk of falling.
• Kitchens
Don’t use difficult-to-reach shelves. Never stand on a chair. Use nonskid floor wax and wipe up spills immediately.
• Bedrooms
Put a light switch by the door and by your bed so you don’t have to walk across the room to turn on a light. Plug night lights into electrical outlets in bedrooms, halls and bathrooms.

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