Nancy Gau, Healthcare

Falls can kill!  And according to recent studies published by JAMA, deadly falls among older Americans are on the rise, nearly tripling in recent years.  The actual numbers are shocking.  Approximately 25,000 older Americans died last year as a result of a fall.  You CAN help prevent yourself from becoming one of these statistics.    Here are some tips from the National Council on Aging, and similar agencies:


Some blood pressure meds and anti-anxiety drugs can make you lightheaded or dizzy and more prone to falls.  Speak to your physician!  Review your list of meds and their dosage and discuss any needed changes.  And hydrate!  It is a good way to fight dizziness.


Eyesight is definitely a component when it comes to falls.  Do not delay those annual exams.  And try to avoid wearing your progressive lenses or bifocals when taking a walk outside.  They can affect your depth perception when stepping off of a curb.


This should include weight-bearing exercises, e.g., walking, and balance exercises, e.g., walking backward.  Resistance exercises can also strengthen your muscles, which can help to reduce your risk of falls.  Many communities offer fall prevention exercise programs, including Tai chi.  As always, -speak to your physician about a program that is safe for you.


Get rid of the clutter!  It can be lethal.  Also think about removing those scatter rugs that can be hazards, and eliminating electrical cords that stretch across a floor.  And watch your pets!  Our wonderful furry friends are such great companions, but they seem to choose our pathways for their naps.  A night light can help with any of these issues, or consider one of those nighttime motion detector lights.  They are great!


Do not try to make fashion statements when you take a walk.  No flip-flops!  I made that mistake and paid for it with two months in a wheelchair.  All walking shoes should have a back and a sole with good tread.  Slippers too can be bad.  They can make you slip!  And if your physician has recommended a cane or a walker, use it.  Pride takes a backseat to health and safety.