Spokane County Fire District 8 responds to numerous fall emergencies every year. Age, physical fitness, health, and medications can all contribute to an increased risk for falls. Being proactive and making a plan is key to successfully reducing a fall. You can significantly reduce your risk of a fall by staying fit, making sure your home environment is hazard free, and asking your physician to review your medications on a regular basis.
Maintain clear pathways in your home: Maintaining clear walkways in your home is critical in preventing trip hazards. Debris, rugs, boxes, and clutter can all contribute to hazardous areas.
Speak with your doctor: Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss developing a fall prevention plan. Be prepared to discuss your fall concerns and how your medical illnesses, medications, and mobility limitations could contribute to an increase in falls. Understanding the side effects of medications can help decrease the potential for falls. Additionally, your doctor may want to change, alter or remove any medications contributing to an increase in falls.
Stay active after speaking with your doctor: Set goals to increase or maintain your physical fitness. Staying active, increasing your strength, and increasing your mobility can significantly reduce your chances of falling. Strength, balance, and mobility can lower your chances of injury if a fall does occur. If you have concerns or feel like you need assistance, speak with your doctor about physical therapy. Install grab bars and handrail.
Install grab bars and handrails: Set yourself up for success by installing grab bars and handrails in areas where falls are frequent. Having handrails on both sides of stairs and ramps will assist with changes in elevation or slopes. Grab bars near the toilet or bed can assist with standing from the sitting position. Grab bars are also helpful in and around showers to help with balance and stability.
Utilize assistive equipment: Walkers or canes can help increase your stability inside and outside the home. These tools can significantly reduce your chance of falling when your body is recovering from injury or illness.
For additional guidance and resources, please contact Spokane Regional Health District at www.srhd.org or at 509-324-1500.