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Anyone can fall. But as we age, our risk of falling becomes greater and the injuries suffered are much more severe. One in three seniors will experience a fall each year. The good news is that many injuries due to falls can be prevented. Take steps to protect yourself.Factors that increase your risk of falling are:
  • You are over the age of 65.
  • You take medication to help you sleep or calm your nerves.
  • You take more than 4 medications per day.
  • You have problems with balance or difficulty walking.
  • You have difficulty getting in or out of the bathtub unassisted.
  • You have problems with strength or sensation in your legs or feet
  • You have had a slip, trip or fall in the last 12 months.
MedicationsTo reduce your risks of falls, follow these tips:
  • Review your medication with your doctor every 6 months.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of your medication.
  • Tell your doctor if your medication makes you dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Never take someone else's medication.
  • Talk to your doctor if insomnia persists.
Using A Cane
  • Make sure your cane is the correct height for you.
  • Standing with your arms at you sides, turn the cane upside down and put the handle on the floor. The tip of the cane should be at the level of your wrist.
  • Aluminum canes can be easily adjusted on the shaft.
  • For wooden canes, remove the rubber tip. Mark the cane at wrist level and deduct ½ inch. Cut the cane and replace the rubber tip.
Note: Many stores that sell canes will cut or adjust your cane. See Hospital Equipment and Supplies in the Yellow Pages.
  • If you have a "bad" leg (weakness or pain), hold the cane opposite the "bad" leg. If not, use the cane on your strong side.
  • Always move the cane and the opposite leg together.
  • Replace worn rubber tips and attach an ice pick in winter.
  • When going up stairs, lead with your strong leg then move the cane and the "bad" leg to the same step.
  • When going down stairs, lead with the cane and the "bad" leg then lower the strong leg to the same step.
  • Adjust your walker to the correct height and roll the walker forward as you step into the centre of the walker.
  • Use the hand brakes correctly.
  • To lock brakes: push down on brake handles.
  • To unlock brakes: pull up on handles and release.
  • To slow down: pull up and squeeze brake handles.
  • To sit on the seat of the walker be sure to lock the brakes. Slowly turn. Transfer one hand to the opposite walker handle for support. Grip both handles as you sit down.
  • When standing up from a chair or bed position, put the walker in front of you and lock the breaks. Do not pull on the walker as it may tip, but push up from the chair. Unlock the brakes before proceeding.
  • To transfer to a chair, back up to the chair until your legs touch the seat. Lock the brakes and reach for the armrest support before sitting.
Step stoolTo be safe, avoid using a step stool by storing everyday items within easy reach or asking for assistance. A safe step stool should have these characteristics:
  • The surface of each step is non-skid.
  • The edge of each step is marked with a contrasting colour.
  • There are side rails which extend above the last step and around to the front.
  • The base is wider than the top to prevent tipping.
  • The legs are sturdy and fitted with rubber tips.
When using a step stool:
  • Look for the label to ensure it is strong enough to hold your body weight.
  • Place firmly on an even surface, free of clutter and lock the legs into place.
  • Climb facing the steps and do not lean forward or stretch.
  • Only reach for items directly in front of you.
  • Never stand on the top step.
Safe Bathroom
  • Install a minimum of two slip resistant grab bars. Ensure that they are secured to the wall by an expert.
  • Adjust a bath bench according to you needs and be sure the legs have rubber tips.
  • A rubber bath mat should cover the entire length of the tub and does not move once it is installed. Another option is to apply anti-slip decals placed no more than two inches apart on the bottom of the tub.
  • The floor rug in a bathroom should have a rubber backing.
  • Do not use the towel rack or soap dish to get in or out of the tub.
  • Do not use bath oil in the water.
  • Use a hand held shower.
  • Install a raised toilet seat and/or grab bar.
Chairs, sofas and bedsMost furniture is too low which can create a difficulty when getting up from the seat. Correct height:
  • While sitting on the furniture, measure the distance from the floor to the seat.
  • While standing, measure the distance from the floor to the top of your knee cap. These two measurements should be the same.
  • Add firm foam pads to the seat of the chair or sofa.
  • Use sturdy bed blocks under the legs of the sofa or bed.

13 Comments to FALL PREVENTION:

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Thanks for the message.

Ken Miller on March-19-13 11:42 PM
Thank you for your kind words......I cannot however take credit for the material in my posting I obtained it from the City of Ottawa web site. Enjoy the day. Ken
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