Falling incidents are common among older Americans. In fact, over 25% of seniors experience such an incident in any given year. Falling exposes you to some very serious health consequences. For this reason, reducing fall risk is an important goal for all seniors.

Common Fall Risks

There are several reasons why your falling risks go up as you get older. Aging-related changes to your body are a common issue. These changes can decrease the sharpness of your reflexes, eyesight, and hearing. In turn, they can make you more susceptible to falling. A broad range of other issues may also impact your overall risks. The list of potential problems includes:

Any health condition that affects your balance

  • Mental confusion
  • Medications that make you feel sleepy, dizzy, or sedated
  • Foot pain
  • Weakened muscles

You may also be affected by something called postural or orthostatic hypotension. These are names for a significant, temporary drop in blood pressure that occurs when you stand up. Such a blood pressure drop can make you feel woozy and less stable on your feet.

Reducing Fall Risk, Tip #1: Keep Up Your Activity Levels

Regular activity and exercise help you keep your body strong. They also help you maintain flexibility in your:

  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Joints

The overall result of good strength and flexibility is a reduction in your chances of experiencing a fall. Participation in gentle, weight-bearing activity may also help protect you from osteoporosis.

Reducing Fall Risk, Tip #2: Take Care of Your Vision and Hearing

Your chances of falling go up after only a minor loss of your vision or hearing. More significant losses in these areas will drive your risks even higher. To help protect yourself, get your vision and hearing checked regularly. Glasses can correct many vision issues. Hearing aids may help you offset any age-related drop in your ability to hear.

Reducing Fall Risk, Tips #3: Talk to Your Doctor About Your Medications

Medication use is common among seniors. On its own, a single medication can have side effects that increase your fall risks. Interactions between multiple medications may have the same impact. A conversation with your doctor will help you clarify your risk. Also, let your doctor know if you’re experiencing any medication-related dizziness or sleepiness.

Reducing Fall Risk, Tip #4: Support Yourself With Appropriate Assistive Devices

Some seniors need assistive devices to maintain stability while walking. Devices in this category include canes and walkers. Talk to your doctor to see if you would benefit from this kind of support. And if you have a cane or walker, make sure to keep it in good condition and use it regularly.

Reducing Fall Risk, #5: Stay Alert and Be Careful

It’s important to remember that a fall could happen at any time. Make sure to be careful and stay alert when you do things such as walking or climbing stairs. That’s especially important if you’re in unfamiliar or potentially dangerous surroundings. The extra attention you pay will go a long way toward keeping you safe and well.