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Guest Column

May 3, 2014

Do all you can to prevent falls for seniors


• Furniture (chairs, sofa and bed) should be appropriate height to make it easy to stand.

• Keep cords out of walkways.

• Handrails in stairways should be on both sides, and grab bars placed inside and outside tub/shower and next to toilet.

• Arrange clothes at a good height.

• Use non-skid mats or rugs, or textured floor strips, by tub/shower.

• Use a shower chair or bench.

• Don’t stand on chairs or boxes to reach a cabinets or shelves use a step stool with handrail to hold on to or use of a reaching device.

• Store food, dishes and cooking equipment a good height.

• Always immediately clean up spills.

Health-hip or bone weakness, osteoporosis, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, multiple Ssclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease, and blood pressure changes make older adults more prone to falls

• Report falls to your health-care provider, as they may be a sign of a new medical problem.

• Have your vision tested at least once a year, or sooner if you think it has changed.

• Get an annual physical examination and have your blood pressure checked in the lying and standing positions.

• Walkers, canes and all medical equipment should be properly sized and fitted by a qualified medical professional.

• Reduce fractures by maintaining a diet with adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium.

Many medications have side effects that can affect coordination and balance or cause confusion, dizziness or sleepiness.

• Ask your health-care provider or pharmacist to review all your medications, including both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including herbals, vitamins and minerals.

• Always take any up-to-date medication list to health-care appointments, including over-the-counter medicines as well as those that have been prescribed. 

• Make sure medications are properly labeled and there instructions are clear.

• Take medications on schedule with full glass of water and avoid alcohol in excess.

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