Fall prevention tips for winter

Stella Barrett, OTR/L, Director of Therapy Services, Holzer Health System

Fall prevention tips for winter

Are you afraid of tripping or falling due to a slippery surface?According to the National Institute of Aging, one in three people age 65 and older fall each year. As individuals age, the risk of falling increases, causing multiple injuries and health problems.

Fall prevention tips

There are several factors that increase the risk of falling. The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence lists past falls, hazards in the home and community, balance and walking problems, medications side effects, decreased vision, and memory loss act as a few factors that can increase the risk of falling.

“You do not have to accept falls as a normal part of aging! There are many things you can do, including finding a fall prevention program in the community for strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and removing trip hazards making your living environment safer,” Stella Barrett, OTR/L, Director of Therapy Services, Holzer Health System said.

Here are a few ways to prevent a fall:-

  • Stay active! Regular exercise keeps your body and mind moving.
  • Learn the side effects of your medications.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Be cautious when walking on wet or icy surfaces.
  • Safeguard your home. Remove things that might make you trip or slip like throw rugs and clutter. Keep your home well-lit to easily see where you are going.
  • Wear sturdy shoes that fit well. Perhaps change to lace up/velcro non slip shoes, avoid slip on shoes.
  • Take vitamin D to strengthen bones and muscles. Your provider can help you decide how much may be needed.
  • Use a cane, walker, or other safety device. If your provider recommends that you use a safety device, be sure that it is the right size and know how to use it. Other items that may help you avoid falling include grab bars or a seat for the shower, non-slip bathmats, and handrails for stairs.

Holzer encourages you to discuss your risk of falling with your primary care provider and create an action plan to prepare for the winter months. It is important to tell your doctor if you fall, or if you are worried about falling. Share concerns if you feel unsteady, feel as though the room is spinning, feel as if you are moving when standing still, or frequently lose your balance.

“Fall prevention is a team effort. If you have had a recent fall or fear falling bring it up with your doctor, family, or contact a therapist,” Barrett said. “They want to help you maintain your mobility and independence and reduce your risk of falling. “

Holzer Therapy Services can assist in setting up a specific program that is best for you and make recommendations for community programs that may be beneficial. Holzer provides highly trained rehabilitation professionals who are focused on helping patients achieve and maintain good physical health through fitness training, education, and rehabilitation. Individualized therapy sessions and flexible scheduling allow for speedy evaluations and quick entry into therapy. Holzer provides Therapy Services at our locations in Athens, Gallipolis, Jackson, and Pomeroy, Ohio. For more information, contact Holzer Therapy Services at 1-855-4-HOLZER.