Tips to Prevent Older People from Falling

Armen Hareyan's picture
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(NC) - For the elderly, avoiding falls can literally be a matter of life and death. Falls account for the vast majority of hospital trauma admissions in the over-65 group. "Older people who fracture hips have a one-in-five chance of dying," says Dr. Barry Goldlist, Medical Director of the Geriatric Rehab Program at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Canada's largest provider of adult rehabilitation services.

Most falls occur in the house, especially the bathroom and bedroom. Dr. Goldlist offers these tips to reduce the risk:

  • Stay physically active. Regular exercise strengthens leg muscles -and strong muscles help keep you upright.

  • See where you're going. If you need glasses, wear them. Be sure lighting is adequate. Don't grope your way to the bathroom at night.

  • Avoid sleeping pills. They can leave you groggy and more prone to falls.

  • Wear appropriate footwear. Especially, avoid backless slippers. Running shoes offer the best insurance against falls.

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  • Fall-proof your residence. Stick down area carpets with double-sided tape. Place electrical cords where you won't trip on them.

"If you're at high risk for falls or fractures, consider buying hip protectors," suggests Dr. Goldlist. "These pads fit under your clothes and offer some protection against injury if you do fall. They may not be beautiful, but they could save your life."

For more information, www.torontorehab.com

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- News Canada

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