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Living well at home

Originally published in the Apple valley Scoop Issue 25 (March 2011) by Nancy Blezy RN, Nurse Manager, Careforce Health Services

Chances are – you know someone who has had a fall in the recent past. An accident? Probably. A preventable event? Probably. Information from the Preventing Falls Together Coalition suggests that each year- 1 out of every 3 seniors will fall. More than half of these seniors will fall more than once. Most of the falls will occur in the home. Many falls seriously impact independence, leading to loss of mobility and resultant hospitalization and possible placement in care facilities. The good news is - FALLS CAN BE PREVENTED!

Take a good look at your health. Are you exercising regularly? Keep moving, walk the mall. Strength, flexibility, balance and stretching exercises greatly reduce the likelihood of falls. Visit your Dr. yearly to update any health changes or concerns. Follow your Dr’s orders regarding prescription medication. Some medications – both prescription and over- the counter can negatively impact your balance. Limit alcohol consumption and avoid mixing alcohol and medications. Take a look at your diet – eat regular, healthy meals as per Canada’s Food Guide. Vision and hearing losses can increase risk. Have regular testing done. Use glasses and hearing aids as prescribed. Get up slowly from lying down to prevent a drop in blood pressure that can lead to dizziness. Wear supportive and comfortable shoes in your home. Use suggested aids, canes, walkers, etc that have been properly set for your height.

If you have had a fall in the past – ask, “Why?”. Unless you fix the underlying problem there is a great chance of a recurring fall in the future and an increased chance of an injury that impacts your independence. How important is living well in your home? You can take steps to reduce your fall risk. In the next article I will focus on how falls can be prevented in your home environment. Your comments and questions are welcomed. Call me at Careforce Health Services , 365-3155.