Because the risk of falling increases as we age, falls are relatively common in older adults. About 30 to 40 percent of older adults ages 65 and over living independently will have a fall in their lifetime, and that number jumps to more than 50 percent after age 80.
When it comes to falls, injury is the most common concern. Injuries can range from soft tissue damage, cuts and bruises to more serious conditions, such as hip and knee fractures and head trauma.
To reduce your risk of falls:
Exercise. Exercise is essential in preventing falls. In addition to cardiovascular exercises, such as walking or aerobics, practicing tai chi or yoga can help with your gait, balance, strength and flexibility.
Get regular eye exams. Have your vision checked at least once a year. If you can’t see what’s in front of you, you are more likely to fall.
Do a home inspection. Look around your home for obstacles that could cause a fall, such as rugs, piles of items and other obstructions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a home fall prevention checklist to help you spot hazards.
Report close calls. Share near misses with your children or family members. They can help you modify your home in order to prevent falls from happening.
Kharia Holmes, M.D., is a geriatrician with Carroll Health Group Primary Care at Carroll Lutheran Village. To make an appointment, call her office at 443-605-1031.