Serious falls, or falls that result in injury, are more common than you may think. In the United States one out of five falls causes injury or even death.
Falls are also expensive. Indiana alone spends more than $850 million dollars on fall down injuries in a single year. The elderly among us are especially vulnerable to falls. And given the exorbitant cost of treating slip-and-fall-related injuries, as much should be done to prevent falling in the first place.
We know that it isn’t possible to prevent every fall from happening. But there are some things you can do to lower your chances of becoming injured due to a fall.
1. Talk to Your Doctor
Consulting with a medical professional who has access to your full medical history—and your safety in mind—can evaluate your fall risks. Do you have weakness in your legs? Does an old hip injury prevent you from keeping your balance? Do you have any previous falls on your record? Your doctor can often suggest ways to reduce your fall risk based on your medical history.
The side-effects of prescription medication could also pose a risk. If you are taking medications that make you drowsy or cause dizziness as a side effect, your doctor can prescribe alternate medications that don’t increase your fall risk.
Above all: let your doctor know if you’ve fallen before. Someone who has fallen is twice as likely to fall again. Your doctor needs to know your complete medical background in order to offer effective treatment.
2. Have Regular Eye Exams
Vision problems make it hard to see where you are going and what might be in your way. It can also make it harder to walk if you’re unsure about what’s in front of you.
Most people will notice deteriorating eyesight as they age, but perhaps not before their risk of falling increases. It’s a pain to schedule consistent eye appointments, but it is worth it if it helps you avoid a hard fall.
3. Do Strength and Balance Exercises
Our bodies demands coordination between bone, nerve, and muscle in order to keep balanced.
When you’re young, it’s relatively easy to retain your balance. You’re still growing, and your developing muscle strength is enough to help you balance. But as you age, those same muscles weaken without the proper attention, which means you’ll eventually find keeping your balance more difficult.
Exercises that focus on fine-tuning the partnership between strength and balance can make it easier to stay on your feet. Activities like Tai Chi and yoga are good low-intensity starting points. If you’re averse to exercising in a group, you can practice at home by utilizing household items like chairs or walls.
4. Remove Fall Hazards at Home
Your home should be a safe sanctuary. Fall hazards in your home are the most in your control and the easiest to remove.
Keep your walkways free of clutter. This may mean getting rid of heavy rugs. If you buy new furniture give yourself plenty of time to become familiar with the layout before attempting to walk it in the dark.
Perform regular maintenance on steps in order to make traversing stairs and porch steps safer. You may want to consider adding handrails where there are none.
Also, make sure you keep your bathroom, especially your bathtub or shower, clear and clean. The slippery nature of a freshly finished bath can spell disaster should you not have enough purchase to maneuver safely. Because of this, you may want to consider adding a bath chair or handrails to your shower.
Help from an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer
Falls are also not always the fault of the injured party. What if you fell on a public walkway because the people in charge of it didn’t keep the path free of debris? You can do everything in your power to prevent falling, and still fall because someone else was negligent.
If this describes you, you’re not alone. Hensley Legal Group can help if you or someone you know has been injured due to another’s negligence. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.