As balance and dizziness specialists, our goal at Vortex Physical Therapy & Balance is to get people thinking about their balance and actively working on maintaining it, to prevent falls and injuries. Through our balance therapy program, we provide clients with exercises to help them improve their balance, as well as tips for how they can stay safe at home and out in the community.
For Balance Awareness Week, we are sharing 15 of our favorite tips for fall prevention at home:
Stay Well Hydrated
Our thirst response decreases with age, leaving seniors at serious risk for dehydration. Lack of water is a common trigger for fatigue during the day and can cause light-headedness, confusion, and difficulty focusing. The average person should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day. In warm weather or after exercising, this amount should increase.
Tips for drinking more water:
- Buy a reusable water bottle and carry it with you wherever you go
- Experiment with water of different temperatures; do you drink more water if it’s cold or room temperature?
- Eat the USDA recommended servings of fruits and vegetables; these contain water as well
- Drink water throughout the day, stopping several hours before bedtime to prevent need to urinate overnight
Wear Safe, Supportive Shoes
As we age, it gets harder to bend down and put on our shoes in the morning. Many people wear the same pair of shoes every day, which leads to wearing out the soles of shoes more quickly. If the soles of your shoes are worn down, you should replace the shoes to prevent slipping or tripping.
Tips for shoe shopping:
- Replace your shoes every 2 years.
- Look for supportive shoes with proper arch support that fit your foot well.
- In warmer weather, chose a shoe that wraps around your heel well and isn’t flimsy.
- Avoid wearing slide-on shoes, including slippers and flip flops.
- If tying your shoes is difficult, look for shoes with a Velcro hook and loop closure for a secure fit.
- Check your feet every night for sores, scrapes or wounds if you have decreased sensation in your feet, numbness or tingling. Notify your physician or podiatrist immediately if you have an open wound to prevent infection.
Fall Prevention at Home
Most falls occur at home. To limit your chance of falling at home, consider making small changes around the house to keep yourself safe. You can do a lot of it yourself or you can hire a professional to evaluate and fall-proof your home.
Tips for preventing falls at home:
- Hire a contractor or handyman to install grab bars in your bathroom; near the toilet, inside a shower or tub.
- Make sure stairway railings are secure. Always hold onto railing when climbing or descending stairs.
- Remove loose throw rugs to prevent tripping. Any rug in the home should have slip-resistant backing.
- Install night lights in your bedroom, hallway and bathroom to help guide you when using the restroom at night
- Take your time getting out of bed; sit upright on the side of your bed until your head is clear, your eyes are focused, and you are safe to stand up.
If you are interested in balance therapy, please contact us to schedule an evaluation.