RVNA Today: Minimizing falls

One out of three adults over the age of 65 falls each year, and 20% of the falls result in serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury. The injuries often make it difficult for a person to get around on their own and enjoy everyday activities. Personal independence can be impacted.

Research has identified key risk factors for falling, and many of them can be changed or modified to help prevent falls. They include: lower body weakness, Vitamin D deficiency, difficulties with balance and walking, medicines, vision problems, foot pain or poor footwear and hazards in the home.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight four things a person can do to help prevent falls.

  1. Exercise to improve balance and strength;

  2. Review all medications with your doctor or pharmacist

  3. Have your vision checked annually

  4. Make your home safer by removing scatter rugs and other trip hazards, arranging furniture for easier navigation, keeping items you use regularly within easy reach and not in high cabinets, installing grab bars near the tub and toilet, using non-slip mats in the tub and shower, improving lighting throughout the house, installing handrails and lights in stairwells, and wearing shoes instead of slippers or going barefooted.

In addition, RVNA recommends use of the Lifeline medical alert device which can be a lifesaver in the event of a fall. More than 2.5 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms or hospitalized each year because of falls. With your doctor and family, take measures to minimize your risks, but if you or a loved one experiences a fall and requires physical therapy or other care at home, RVNA is available seven days a week.

For more information on RVNA home care, Lifeline or to schedule a safety assessment of your home, call 203-438-5555.

RVNA Today is a weekly column from the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association, which serves Wilton.