Reducing fall risk effectively involves a holistic approach targeting the major risk factors.
Vision: check eyes annually, adjust glasses accordingly, and adapt home to cope with vision loss (good lighting, no clutter)
Age is the biggest risk factor for macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss.
Everyone over age 60 is at risk of developing glaucoma, which results in peripheral vision loss.
By age 80, more than half of all Americans have a cataract or had cataract surgery.
Medication and supplements: review all medications and supplements with your doctor or pharmacist and take as prescribed by your doctor
The following drug classes are associated with falls in older adults:
Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs)
Sedatives (sleeping pills)
Antihypertensives (drugs for high blood pressure)
First generation antihistamines (Benadryl, drugs with “PM” next to the name, such as Advil PM) have a risk of poor coordination and confusion.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with muscle weakness and falls.
Home safety: make your home safer, approximately 70% of falls occur in the home
Wipe up slippery floors
Ensure proper lighting (use photosensitive or motion activated lights at night)
Tack down or remove throw rugs
Repair uneven surfaces
Go slowly up and down steps and use handrails
Make sure extension cords do not run across floor
Repair or remove unstable chairs or tables
Raise toilet seat if too low
Install grab bars in bathroom
Strength and balance: strength and balance exercises reduce fall risk by around 40%
Join a group exercise class (ex. strength training for better balance or Tai Chi) at your local gym, or community or senior centers, or get in touch for a targeted strength and balance assessment and program