Many factors contribute to the risk of falling, including your general health, the medications you take, and your activity level. Yet a few simple fall prevention measures can go a long way to keeping you safe and secure on your feet.
Here are three important factors to discuss with your doctor to help reduce your risk of falling.
1. Review your medications.
Make a list of all the medications you’re taking. Include over-the-counter medications and supplements. Review the list with your doctor at your next visit. Together, you can determine if there are any interactions that could affect your balance, if there are any medications you can reduce or replace, or if you can add anything that would be beneficial.
2. Discuss if you’ve fallen before.
If you’ve fallen before, this is important information for your doctor to know — even if you weren’t injured. Before your appointment, jot down all the details you can recall about your past fall(s). Include where you fell, the time of day, what you were doing, if you’d taken medication shortly before the fall, your mood at the time, and anything else that comes to mind.
Also, include if you’ve had any "near falls" but were able to catch yourself or were caught by someone else. This will help your doctor determine if there’s a need for further tests or to recommend exercises or medication that can help prevent future falls.
3. Review any health conditions and your activities.
Even something as simple as an ear infection can affect balance, and consequently, the risk of falling. So it’s important to review your general health and physical activities. Be sure to mention any dizziness you may have experienced, joint pain, numbness, or shortness of breath while active.
Bonus Tips: Fall-Proof Your Home
Take time to review your home, both indoors and out, and make corrections where needed. Common places to check are:
- Floors. Make sure all floors are clear of anything you could trip on, all carpeting is securely tacked down, and all rugs have slip-free backings.
- Stairs and walkways. Ensure that all stairways have solid handrails. For the outdoors, be sure to add sand or ice melt to walking places in winter!
- Lighting. Be sure to have good lighting throughout your home and backup flashlights ready in case of a power outage.