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Farewell to Falls, a program of the Trauma Center at Stanford, is working with older adults to help reduce falls. The program works closely with Stanford Hospital's Aging Adult Services.
Have you fallen recently? Say Farewell to Falls! More than 1 million older adults in California fall each year, with 200,000 of those falls resulting in injury. And nearly 188 Californians, age 55 and over, are hospitalized every day from slips, trips and falls. Research now shows that there are things that you can do to prevent falls and help you to maintain your independence.
Falls can be prevented by:
Exercise Participate in balance, mobility and strength training programs geared specifically at preventing falls
Medication Review Some side effects or drug interactions can increase falls
Home Modifications Even minor changes in your home may prevent the next fall from occurring.
Evaluate your health, your activity level and your home environment. There are changes you can make today to prevent you from falling again tomorrow.
The Center for Disease Control states that older adults who have fallen previously or who stumble frequently are two to three times more likely to fall within the next year. Take action to help prevent another fall.
Tips if Feeling Dizzy or Weak
Make an appointment with your doctor. Your blood pressure or medications could be contributing to your feelings of dizziness.
Talk to your doctor about your medication. The number, type and combination of medications you take can increase your risk of falling. Don't make changes on your own.
Begin an activity program. With your doctor's permission, regular walks or participation in an exercise program can increase your strength and mobility.
Take your time getting up after sitting, lying down or resting.
Tips to Avoid Tripping or Slipping
Check your home for hazards. Throw rugs should be removed or adhered to the floor with double-sided tape or special carpet pads.
Remove electrical cords and other hazards.
Pick up animal toys and clutter off the floor.
Don't lean on towel bars or furniture for support. Consider installing grab bars in the bathtub and by the toilet.
Use handrails on all stairs.
Wear non-skid shoes or slippers. Keep floors dry.
Install non-skid surfaces in the shower or tub.
Check your patio and yard for uneven pavement and other hazards.
Tips to Improve Balance
Carry a smaller load. Your balance may not be as good as it was when you were younger.
Rearrange your cabinets and closets so that your items are closer to reach.
Tips if Having Vision Trouble or Vision Loss
Have your vision checked regularly.
Improve lighting throughout your house and use nightlights.
Other Safety Tips
Keep emergency numbers near each phone.
Use cordless phones so that you don't trip on cords.
Consider subscribing to a service such as Lifeline or others that will bring help in case you fall and can't get up.
If you've had multiple falls or have severe osteoporosis, consider wearing hip. protectors. They've been shown to be effective in preventing hip fractures from falls.
For further information on programs and resources, call 650-724-9369.