Did you know – falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian older adults and between 20 and 30% of older adults fall each year? While you might think falling is a natural consequence of getting older, it is the result of several age-related factors including loss of muscle strength and balance. The good news is, falls can be prevented by adjusting your home environment, through exercises that promote strength and balance, and by being mindful about your foot health.
Modify your home
Many older adults are choosing to stay in their homes for as long as possible; however, many homes have not been designed to accommodate their needs as they age. Making modifications in the home can help you perform daily activities more easily and reduce the risk of falling at home. Occupational therapists can support with an implementation plan that’s right for you.
Exercise – alone or in combination with other strategies – can help reduce your chances of falling. There are a number of beneficial exercises that help to improve walking speed, balance and muscle strength. Tai chi, resistance training and exercises such as yoga that improve flexibility can also help. If regular exercise is not already a part of your weekly routine, adding it in is not only important to your overall physical and mental health, it can also help prevent falls from happening.
Maintain your foot health
Making sure your feet are in good health is another important factor in preventing falls. Foot issues such as pain, weak muscle strength, poor range of motion in the ankle and bunions are just a few examples of problems that may contribute to a greater risk of falling. If you’re worried about your foot health, you may want to consider seeing a podiatrist who can assess, diagnose, and treat you, and ultimately help to improve your ability to move safely.
Preventing falls involves looking at many aspects, both physically and environmentally to help reduce your risk. We have compiled some of our top resources on the subject to help educate, inform, and keep you safe on your feet!