Prepared by the ECCL’s Health Council and the “Fall’s” Sub-Committee
More people over 65 in Lee County die from a fall than all people who die in a motor vehicle crash.
One in four people over 65 will fall each year. Lee Health Emergency Departments have over 1000 fall-related visits a year from Estero area residents. Lee County has an average of 164 fall-related deaths a year in people over age 65. That’s the bad news – more than one every three days. The ECCL’s Health Council is anxious to help you minimize the risk of falling by emphasizing the actions that will help to enhance your safety.
The good news is that many falls are preventable.
Falls are not a normal part of aging. Here’s what you can do to reduce your risk of a fall.
Participate in a good balance and exercise program. Find a program that will build your core strength and flexibility. Tai Chi is an excellent way to reduce falls.
Review your home and fix any fall risk areas. Look for loose rugs, clutter, railings on staircases, grab bars in the shower and toilet, among other things.
Review your medications with your pharmacist or your health care provider. Some medicines have side effects that can increase your chances of a fall.
Tell your health care provider about any falls you have had. Have them check your balance. Alternatively, ask the provider to refer you to a physical therapist for a complete balance assessment.
Sometimes quickly getting out of bed can reduce your blood pressure and lead to a fall. Sit at the side of the bed for a while so your blood pressure can return to normal.
Avoid climbing a ladder. A fall from a ladder can be disastrous.
Wear safe shoes. Flip-flops are not a good choice. Closed-toe shoes with a nonskid sole and heel are the best choice.
Have your eyes and hearing checked regularly.
Finally, it is worth talking with your family or close friend about falling and enlisting their help if you need it.
Step Smart is a local fall prevention program. Their website, https://stepsmart.org, has more information about how you can prevent a fall and booking a presentation and balance screen for your community.
If interested, you can also log on to the Mayo Clinic website, which provides further information about fall prevention.
The CDC provides essential information and has identified elderly falls are on the rise and that falling once doubles your chances of falling again!