stethoscope on keyboard

Keep the Spring in your Step

In a few weeks we will face that annual ritual of resetting our clocks while reciting, “spring forward, fall back.”  But this year at Caduceus it’s “spring forward, fall not.”

That’s right, this spring we are making falls a thing of the past.  Caduceus is proud to announce its Fall Prevention Program complete with clinical counseling, supply recommendations, and a free home inspection. 

Why focus on fall prevention? 

Well, first and foremost, falls are a common problem among senior citizens that can lead to serious injuries and reduced independence.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four Americans aged 65 and older falls each year – and less than half tell their doctor!  Since falling once doubles the chance of falling again, it’s time to talk about it.

The health risks of a fall may seem obvious – like broken bones in the arms, wrist, or hip – which can reduce independence and hinder daily activities, but there are other concerns.  Head injuries can be especially dangerous for seniors or people taking blood thinners, which can exacerbate a brain injury. 

Plus, even if you don’t actually suffer a spill, just the fear of falling can be a problem – people who limit activities become weaker and deconditioned, which among other things increases the chance that the dreaded dive occurs after all.

So let’s break the fall before it happens, and it helps to know who is at risk.  Several factors can increase a senior’s risk of falling, including:

  • Age-related changes in balance, coordination, and vision
  • Lower body weakness
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Chronic health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and dementia
  • Medications that can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or other side effects
  • Environmental hazards, such as uneven floors, poor lighting, and loose rugs or carpets

Remember it’s not only seniors who can get tripped up.  Anyone recently discharged from the hospital, those recovering during postoperative care, and people who live alone should also use some extra caution.  And let’s not forget about expectant mothers – as 1 in 4 pregnant women experience a fall during pregnancy, and 1 in 10 fall multiple times. 

Ok, so how do you prevent this free fall from health and independence?  We at Caduceus have you covered.  First, you can take the following steps:

  1. Exercise regularly to improve balance and strength. This can include activities such as walking, Tai Chi, or water aerobics.
  2. Review and follow your medications with your doctor or health professional. Some medications can increase the risk of falls.
  3. Remove tripping hazards from your home, such as loose rugs, cords, or clutter. Keep frequently used items within easy reach to avoid the need to climb or stretch.
  4. Use assistive devices, such as a cane or walker, to help with balance and stability.
  5. Make sure your home is well-lit, especially in areas you use at night, such as the bathroom and bedroom.
  6. Wear shoes that fit well and have non-slip soles. Avoid going barefoot or wearing socks.
  7. Have your vision and hearing checked regularly and wear glasses or hearing aids as prescribed.
  8. Look into a medical alert system; some are covered by insurance.
  9. Consider installing handrails or grab bars in your home, especially in the bathroom.

Second, get your home inspected!  As a service to Caduceus patients we are offering a free home inspection with a safety score to help identify preventative measures and keep that spring in your step. 

In conclusion, falls are a common problem among senior citizens that can lead to serious injuries and reduced independence.  Many age-related and environmental risk factors can be mitigated with proper counseling and home safety checks.  To schedule a home inspection email support.

Nathaniel DeNicola, MD, MSHP, FACOG
Chief Medical Officer | Caduceus Medical Group