Four ways to take charge of your independence by preventing falls:
Exercise regularly. It's important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. We're helping to bring the right mix of balance-building exercise classes to the state.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines — both prescription and over-the-counter — to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions, such as dizziness or drowsiness.
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update your eyeglasses to maximize your vision. Consider getting a pair with single-vision distance lenses for some activities, such as walking outside.
Make your home safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding railings on both sides of stairways and improving the lighting in your home.
Exercise classes proven to prevent falls
One of the best ways to prevent falls and keep your independence is through exercise that focuses on balance, strength and confidence.
Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance includes gentle movements that emphasize weight shifting, postural alignment and balance. Each session included instructions in new movements, as well as review of movements from previous sessions. This class is typically held twice per week for 12 weeks.
Stepping On is a seven-week workshop to develop the knowledge and skills needed to help older adults prevent falls. It focuses on how strength and balancing exercises, medication management, home safety, footwear, vision and mobility all play an important role in fall prevention.
A Matter of Balance emphasizes practical strategies to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels. Participants learn to view falls and fear of falling as controllable, set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and exercise to increase strength and balance. This class consists of eight two-hour sessions.
Tai Chi for Arthritis is also effective at preventing falls. It works through improving balance, confidence and muscular strength.