Senior woman using a mobility walker outdoors

Watch your step

We have all seen the old commercials with someone exclaiming, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Though this skit has become the butt of jokes over the years, falls are a serious issue that can cause moderate to severe injuries, including hip fractures, lacerations, head traumas, and increase the risk of an early death. Here are some ways to watch your step and keep it steady so you don’t end up with an injury:

What can I do to prevent a fall at home?

  1. Exercise regularly – Focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance.
  2. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications – Both prescription and over-the-counter to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  3. Get your eyes checked – Have an eye doctor examine your eyes at least once a year and update your eye glasses to maximize your vision.
  4. Make your home safer – Reduce trip hazards by removing clutter, add handrails inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, add nonslip mats to the tub or shower, secure loose rugs, keep necessities within easy reach.
  5. Wear sensible shoes – well fitting, low heeled, rubber soled shoes can help you keep your footing.
  6. Keep things well lit – make sure you can see clearly at all times, add nightlights to your bedroom and bathroom, store flashlights where they’re easy to reach, turn on the lights before going up or down the stairs.

Falls contribute significantly towards the number of trauma admissions seen in Spartanburg Medical Center’s Emergency Department.

September 22 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day. The ninth annual awareness day was created to raise awareness of how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. If you or a loved one experience a fall, call 9-1-1.