March 1, 2018

Stay balanced: 10 steps to prevent falls

Stay balanced

10 easy steps to prevent falls

1. Be active

Exercise regularly to help build muscle strength, balance and reduce fatigue.

2. Check vision

Have regular, comprehensive, dilated eye exams and keep prescription eyeglasses up-to-date.

3. Wear shoes

Instead of walking around barefoot or in socks, always wear slippers or shoes with nonslip soles.

4. Monitor meds

Dizziness or fatigue might be linked to medications, so talk to your doctor about side effects.

5. Use support

If needed for balance and stability when walking, use a cane or walker.

6. Prevent slips

Install handholds for toilet and tub, and use a shower chair when bathing.

7. Avoid tipsiness

Drink alcohol in moderation, and know any interactions it may have with your prescription medications.

8. Omit hazards

Make sure household rooms and hallways are always well lit. Avoid throw rugs and slippery floors.

9. Take vitamin D

Ask your doctor about this supplement, which can improve muscle strength and balance.

10. Discuss risks

Get tailored advice from your health care provider about preventing falls.

Source: Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, Vice President for Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Permanente Washington; Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.