At the start of fall, we at Patrick Fettinger, DPM, recognize Falls Prevention Awareness Week, which happens every September to remind people of the need to take action to help protect seniors from falling. Falls are the number one cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for people aged 65 and older. One in four adults in this age group will fall each year. But we can change these numbers. There are many ways to lower the risk of falling.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for our senior Fairfield County patients and the people who love them:
Do: Start the conversation. An open discussion needs to happen about the possibility of falling and how to prevent it. Too often, family members are afraid to offend an older person by talking about falling, and older people may be afraid they will lose their independence if they bring up fears about falling. Talking about it is the first step toward decreasing the risk of falling.
Do: Be proactive in managing medical conditions. Most seniors have one or more chronic conditions they’re dealing with, such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease. These and other disorders and their treatments can cause difficulty walking, dizziness, or other issues that can increase fall risk. Talk to your doctor about your health concerns and any changes you’ve noticed. Follow the doctor’s instructions for managing your health conditions.
Don’t: Put off getting podiatric pain evaluated. Foot and ankle pain is a significant cause of falls. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, contact our New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357) office for an appointment so our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick J. Fettinger, can examine your feet and help relieve your symptoms as quickly as possible.
Do: Add safety features to your home. Increase the lighting in hallways, on stairs, and near the entrances to your home. Add no-slip strips in tubs and showers and install grab bars in the bathrooms. Make sure staircases have railings on both sides for better stability.
Don’t: Skip your annual eye exam. Decreases in vision can happen gradually over time. It’s much easier to trip and fall if your vision is impaired.
Do: Conduct an annual medication review. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to look at the list of all medications, supplements, and vitamins you are taking. Have them check for drug interactions and side effects that could increase the chances of a fall, like dizziness or light-headedness.
If you have additional questions about decreasing fall risks or other aspects of senior foot care, don’t hesitate to contact us.