Take care of your health

You can prevent falls by taking care of your health. The first step to avoiding falls is to understand what causes them. For example, reduced vision or hearing as well as poorly fitting footwear are just a few causes of falls.

Have regular medical follow-up with your healthcare provider. Discuss how often your appointments should be. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms and you are not sure what the issue is…..eg. dizziness, weakness. You want to detect health problems early.

Manage your health conditions according to physician recommendations– medication, diet, activity, monitoring, etc…

Report any falls or near falls to your health care provider. Discussing your fall can help identify why you might be falling and what can be done to help you.

Eyesight
There may be changes to your eyesight that can affect your balance.

Some changes that you may notice:

  • More sensitivity to glare
  • Harder to see where an object ends and the background begins
  • Extra time needed to adjust to sudden changes in light and dark
  • Harder to judge distance and depth
  • Watery eyes or burning/stinging dry eyes
  • Losing your balance or getting dizzy when other people or objects are moving around you

 What you can do

  • Have an eye exam every year and when you notice any changes in your vision
  • Keep your home well lit, especially entrances and stairways
  • Use night lights, especially in the path from the bedroom to the bathroom
  • Give your eyes time to adjust when you move from dark to much brighter areas
  • Protect your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses
  • Take breaks from looking at one thing, like a computer screen, to reduce the risk of eye strain
Mark the edge of stirs with coloured paint or treads
Look after your feet

Feet that are healthy and pain-free can help you stay active and independent.

Feet give support and balance to your body when it is in different positions.

Foot problems can cause loss of balance or make you feel unstable on your feet, putting you at risk of having a fall.

What you can do

Foot care

  • See a health care provider about foot problems and foot pain.
  • Check your feet every day for corns, open sores, redness, dry skin and thickened nails.
  • Wash your feet in warm, not hot water.
  • Dry your feet completely after washing, especially between your toes.
  • Trim your toenails straight across and not too short.

 Footwear

  • Choose flat shoes that have low, wide heels and soles that grip.
  • Avoid walking in bare feet, stocking feet or slip on shoes with an open heel
  • Wear supportive shoes inside your home.
Hearing
Hearing loss can affect your balance.

Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Difficulty hearing others speak
  • Frequently asking people to repeat themselves
  • Frustration at not being able to hear
  • Problems hearing in noisy areas
  • More difficulty understanding people with higher-pitched voices
  • Ringing in the ears

 What you can do

  • Have your hearing checked at least every year
  • Talk to your health care provider about any changes in your hearing.
  • Protect your ears from loud sounds
  • Think about using devices that can help you hear and communicate more easily, such as a hearing aid or a telephone amplifier.
  • Ask others to speak clearly and face you when speaking

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