National Fall Prevention Awareness Day takes place this month. At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we want all of our patients to be healthy and active. If you have a loved one age 65 or over, we encourage you to talk to them about the risk of falling. One in four Americans in this age group fall each year. The good news is that many falls are preventable. Start the conversation with the older people in your life and help them discover ways they can lower their fall risk. Below are some suggestions on how you can offer your help.
Studies show that one reason seniors who have stumbled or fallen don’t tell their families is that they fear losing their independence. Tell the person you care about that you want them to be independent and are talking to them now about fall risks to help them stay independent. Give them an opportunity to be honest about any concerns they have about falling.
Checkup on Medical Conditions
Ask the older people in your life about their health and any new concerns they may have. The feet are an obvious starting point. Foot and ankle pain can cause a person to alter the way they walk, and this can throw off their balance and result in a fall. Encourage an elderly person who complains of foot pain to contact our Long Beach office and make an appointment with one of our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria Foley or Dr. Constance Omelas to find out the cause and treatment of foot problems promptly. Getting eyes checked regularly is another important way to prevent falls. It’s also a good idea to suggest that the older person you love periodically review all their medications with their pharmacist or physician. Dizziness or lightheadedness can occur due to medication interactions or if the dosage needs to be adjusted.
Help with a Home Makeover
Over 50% of all falls occur at home. Do a walk through with your loved one and look for ways to improve safety. Consider the following:
- Removing throw rugs
- Adding a railing on both sides of the stairs
- Increasing light indoors and outdoors
- Painting outdoor steps with non-slip paint
- Installing grab bars in the bathroom
Let your loved one know that you’re available if they have other thoughts about how to decrease their risk of falls and to discuss any concerns they have. Be reassuring and keep the doors of communication open. If you or your older loved one have any questions about foot health and fall prevention, don’t hesitate to call us at (562) 420-9800.