Falls can happen anytime and anywhere to people of any age. Maintaining your health, physical activity, and safeguarding your living environment against falls can significantly reduce your risk for falling.
What to Do If You Fall
- Do not panic. Assess the situation and determine if you are hurt.
- Slide or crawl along the floor to the nearest couch or chair and try to get up.
- If you cannot get up, call for help.
- If you are alone, slowly crawl to the telephone and call 911 or relatives.
Understand Your Health and Medications
- Get an annual eye examination, and a physical that includes an evaluation for cardiac and blood pressure problems.
- Maintain a diet with adequate dietary calcium and Vitamin D.
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake.
- Keep an up-to-date list of all medications and frequently provide it to all doctors with whom you consult.
- Check with your doctor(s) about any side effects of your medications and over-the-counter drugs, as fatigue or confusion increases your risk of falling.
- Make sure all medications are clearly labeled and stored in a well-lit area.
- Take medications on schedule with a full glass of water, unless otherwise instructed.
- Talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program and update him on your experience with exercise.
- If possible, participate in an exercise program that aids agility, strength, balance, and coordination. Walking at least an hour a day is a good start. This can be done in small intervals to accumulate the hour.
- Wear properly-fitting shoes with nonskid soles. Avoid high heels.
- Tie your shoe laces well.
- Use a long-handled shoehorn if you have trouble putting on your shoes.
- Never walk in your stocking feet.
- Replace slippers that have stretched out of shape and are too loose.
Home Modifications to Prevent Falls
- Place a lamp, telephone, or flashlight near your bed.
- Sleep on a bed that is easy to get into and out of.
- Make sure your bedding is not slippery and made of wool or cotton.
- Arrange clothes in your closet so that they are easy to reach.
- Install a nightlight along the route between your bedroom and the bathroom.
- Keep clutter off the bedroom floor.
Living Areas and Stairs.
- Install handrails on both sides of the stairway. Each should be 30 inches above the stairs and extend the full length of the stairs.
- Keep flashlights nearby in case of a power outage.
- Arrange furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms.
- Keep low-rise coffee tables, magazine racks, footrests, and plants out of the path of traffic.
- Install easy-access light switches or glow-in-the dark switches in each room.
- Walk only in well-lighted rooms, stairs, and halls.
- Do not store anything near doorways or in hallways and un-clutter all floors.
- Keep all cords out of walkways, but do not put cords under a rug.
- Secure loose area rugs in place with some kid of tape.
- Do not sit in a chair or on a sofa that is so low that it is difficult to stand up.
- Repair loose wooden floorboards right away.
- Remove door sills higher than a half inch.
- Remove throw rugs.
- Clean up immediately any liquids, grease, or food spilled on the floor.
- Store food, dishes, and cooking equipment within easy reach.
- Do not stand on chairs or boxes to reach upper cabinets.
- Use nonskid floor wax.
- Place a slip-resistant rug adjacent to the bathtub for safe exit and entry.
- Mount a liquid soap dispenser on the bathtub/shower wall.
- Install grab bars on the bathroom walls.
- Keep a nightlight in the bathroom.
- Use a rubber mat or place nonskid adhesive textured strips inside the tub.
- Replace glass shower enclosures with non-shattering material.
- Stabilize yourself on the toilet by using either raised seat or a special toilet seat with armrests.
- Use a sturdy, plastic seat in the bathtub if you cannot lower yourself to the floor of the tub or if you are unsteady.
Dr. Zinoviy Rabinovich D.P.M., Board Certified Physician and Surgeon of Foot and Ankle – a doctor who is on time, who looks at and listens to you and not the computer, who provides immediate relief and follows through to complete satisfaction. Experience, expertise, convenience of scheduling, evening hours, and a personal innovative approach for all your and your children’s foot care needs. Northbrook 847-297-9660, Crest Hill 815-838-9505 or book online at www.absolutefootandankleclinic.com.