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Mills-Peninsula Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Avoid Falls to Stay Strong and Healthy as You Age

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 in Senior Health

Staying on our toes, literally, is one of the secrets to maintaining good health as we age. And because bone quality decreases with age, if an older person falls, he or she has a higher risk of bone fracture.

Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence and injury deaths, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Fractures in older adults can lead down a slippery slope, healthwise. When you fracture a bone, you become more inactive while it heals. This can lead to blood clots and other adverse health issues associated with inactivity. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to prevent falls from happening in the first place.

To help prevent falls, assess your home & health for safety:

  • Remove clutter, rugs, hall runners, and other trip hazards.
  • Use no-slip mats in the bath tub.
  • Install grab bars in the showers and by the toilet.
  • Add hand rails on both sides of staircases.
  • Improve light throughout the home.
  • Visit your doctor for a hearing and vision check-up.
  • Be aware of medication side effects, such as dizziness, fatigue and impaired judgment (especially when taking multiple medications).

Once your surroundings are fall-proofed, it’s time to strengthen your body. Any activity you can do to improve lower body strength or balance will help keep you on your feet. You can find more information on exercise and bone health in the Mills-Peninsula blog post: Bolster Bone Health – Eat Right and Take a Walk.

Mills-Peninsula also offers a six-week “Fall Proof Program.” The course includes a balance assessment and balance-training exercises. A pre-class assessment will begin in early January 2011. For more information, you can call 650-696-4310.

Jennifer Oddo, a Mills-Peninsula physical therapist contributed to this blog post.