Many fractures occur as a result of a fall. Consider following up with your primary care doctor for a Fall Risk Assessment if:
What does a Fall Risk Assessment entail?
- You have had two falls in the last 12 months, or
- You have had a fall in the last 12 months resulting in an injury, or
- You have osteoporosis
Most fall risk assessments with your primary care doctor will entail:
- Vision check
- Cognitive evaluation
- Discussion of fall history
- Evaluation of current medical conditions
- Evaluation for ambulatory device
- Evaluation for cardiac, muscle, and balance status
Depending on the results of your assessment, your doctor may suggest you start physical or occupational therapy, start using an ambulatory device, have your vision prescription updated, visit a podiatrist for an evaluation, have an in home safety inspection, start an exercise program, or even get a new pair of well-fitting shoes. Your doctor may also recommend you have a bone density test every three to five years.
Tips for Fall Prevention
- Begin a regular exercise program
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of falling by keeping you stronger and feeling better. Exercises like Tai Chi that improve coordination and balance are the most helpful.
- Have your health care provider review your medications
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review all the prescribed and over-the-counter medications that you take. The way medicines work in the body often chances as you age and some medicines or combinations of medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy, causing you to fall.
- Have your vision checked
Are you wearing the right prescription? Your eyes change as you age so have them checked at least once a year. If you are wearing the wrong glasses or have developed a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision, you are at greater risk of falling.
- Make your home safer
About 50 percent of falls occur in the home. Look at your home objectively: How can you improve safety?
- Keep walkways throughout your home clear
- Remove throw rugs or keep them tacked down
- Install grab bars in bathrooms and handrails in stairways
- Keep your home well lit
- Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower
- Wear well-fitting shoes
- Keep frequently used items within easy reach
Information courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information call 1 (800) CDC-INFO (232-4636) or visit cdc.gov/injury