We asked our physical therapists to take a dive into myths about falling and fall prevention. Here’s what Justin DePementier and Carol Huegel propose:
Many people think falls are a normal part of aging. That’s not true. The National Council on Aging teaches us they’re not (Learn more here.)
Preventing falls is possible. You have the power to reduce your risk with simple fall prevention steps.
There are common myths about falls. And we’re here to bust them.
Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me.
Reality: Many people think, “It won’t happen to me.” The truth is that 1 in 4 older adults fall every year in the U.S. And many falls don’t have to happen.
Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older.
Reality: Falls happen at every age. Particularly if you ignore the risks. Doing strength and balance exercises help at every age. So does managing your medications and having your vision checked. Along with making your living environment safer.
Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.
Reality: Performing physical activity helps you stay independent. Your strength and range of motion benefit from remaining active. Being active keeps you active.
Myth 4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling.
Reality: Over half of all falls take place at home. Inspect your home for fall risks. Fix simple serious hazards. Get rid of clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting. Make simple home modifications. Add grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.
Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can’t be regained.
Reality: While we do lose muscle as we age, exercise helps restore your strength and flexibility. This reduces your risk of falling. It’s never too late to start exercising.
Myth 6: Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.
Reality: Taking any medication may increase your risk of falling. Medications affect people in many different ways. Some can make you dizzy or sleepy which can lead to falls. When starting a new medication, talk to your health care provider. They know about potential side effects or interactions with your current medications.
Myth 7: I don’t need to get my vision checked every year.
Reality: Vision is another key risk factor for falls. If you have vision problems, you’re more than twice as likely to fall with visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year. And update your eyeglasses. For those with low vision there are programs and assistive devices that can help. Ask your Ophthalmologist or Optometrist for a referral.
Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.
Reality: Walking aids can help many older adults keep moving. This can maintain or improve their mobility. Have a physical therapist assess you. The can recommend most appropriate device, fit the device, and instruct you in its safe use.
Fall prevention is a team effort. Discuss it with your doctor, family, and anyone else who is in a position to help.
They want to help you maintain your mobility and reduce your risk of falling and maintain independence.
Learn more about falls prevention at www.ncoa.org/FallsPrevention.
If you have questions or want to work on balance, stability and flexibility, just Contact Us. All of us at elevate want to keep everyone moving and mobile. We believe in optimal health at every age. Justin, Carol and the training team are experts at making that happen.