How to Protect Yourself From a Fall

Carolyn Guilford, CNC
Carolyn Guilford, CNC

Falling is the leading cause of injury for people over 60 years of age.

Beyond the discomfort and inconvenience, falling injuries can result in decreased mobility, loss of independence, reduced quality of life, or death.

The good news is that many of these injuries can be prevented by becoming more attentive to: possible hazards in and around your home, your physical limitations, increasing your level of fitness, changes in your medical condition, the effects of the medications you are taking.

First, reduce any potential hazards in your environment: Keep your home well lit, inside and out. Remove all clutter, especially in walking areas like hallways and stairways. Make sure there is enough space to move around easily between furniture.

Try to keep items you need often, in easy reach.Stay away from slippery waxes on floors. Avoid shoes or slippers that are slippery on the floor, or that seem to stick or catch on floors. Use the hand rail when going up or down stairs. Remove throw rugs or use non-slip mats under them

Clean up spills right quickly. If you have trouble getting out of bed or a chair, investigate the many products available to assist you

Have grab-bars installed in your bath or shower by someone who is trained in proper installation.

Use special caution and supportive rubber soled, lowheeled shoes when walking outside on wet or uneven walkways. And, use a walking cane if needed.

Beware of changes in your medical condition: The risk of falling is greater for persons who experience dizziness, loss of balance, sudden weakness, confusion or loss of co-ordination. For example, a person with an irregular heartbeat may be prone to episodes of dizziness or sudden weakness. In order to prevent falls in this instance, it’s important to report these symptoms and to work with your doctor to stabilize this condition.

If your condition has been stabilized as much as possible, but the symptoms still occur, then watch for patterns of when symptoms occur so you can be prepared for them. For example, if dizziness or sudden weakness occurs when standing from a lying or sitting position, get up more slowly, to allow your body to adjust to the change of position.

Also, many meds have side effects that may increase your risk for a fall. For example, sleeping pills and pain killers can often cause dizziness or drowsiness. So, discuss any possible side effects of the medications you are taking with your pharmacist or physician. And, when starting a new medication, go slow at first to see how the medication will affect you. If you are taking a medication makes you dizzy or impairs your balance, let your doctor know. If you need to stay on the medication, it may be helpful to move slowly or to sit briefly before standing from a lying or sitting position.

To avoid possible drug interactions, make sure that your doctor and pharmacist know all the medications you are taking; prescription meds, over-the-counter preparations or any herbal products. So, here are a few tips for your consideration: Call your doctor and report any changes in your overall condition.

Make sure your activities are appropriate for your abilities. Ask for help when you need it. Use a walker or cane as needed.

Have your vision and hearing checked, and wear glasses or hearing aids as ordered.Use caution and move slowly when getting up from sitting or lying. Exercise daily to maintain or increase strength and flexibility. Do not drink alcohol if you are taking medications.

If you are ready to save your own life by creating a healthy lifestyle, call or write:

Carolyn Guilford, at

Health Restoration 101
P.O. Box 2814, Savannah,

GA 31402 912) 236-8987

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