Do exercises that make your legs stronger and improve your balance so you can continue getting up and down from chairs, toilets, stairs, your bed, and in and out of your shower and your car, independently and as safely as possible.
Balance programs such as Tai Chi, walking, and senior-balance classes challenge your joint stability, and strengthen your bones to prevent osteoporosis. These classes also challenge your cerebellum function, which is the coordination center in your brain. These programs can keep you from losing your balance and prevent you from falling. Exercising keeps your reflexes responding quickly when you need them too, to prevent a fall to the floor.
Stretching programs, with specific emphasis on increasing mobility in your joints and muscles, can improve your ability to transfer and walk if you feel like arthritis or tightness is limiting your ease of ambulation and safety.
If you don’t know what is limiting you, speak to your doctor or physical therapist.
Physical therapists can design a specific program to fit your needs and safety.
Talk to your Doctor
Your doctor or pharmacist can assess all the medications you are taking, even over-the-counter medicines. Some medications can make you dizzy or light headed or sometimes sleepy and fatigued.
Pain medications, tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, sedatives, or antidepressants, and some over-the-counter medicines can affect your balance and make a difference on how steady your are on your feet.
Have your vision checked at least once a year by an eye doctor. Poor vision can increase your risk of falling. Be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed. If you have bifocals or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes these lenses can make things appear closer or farther than they really are.
Vitamin D deficiency can make you more likely to fall, so ask you doctor or healthcare provider about taking vitamin D supplement with calcium.
Ensure you have a clear path to walk around the house. Whether it's a wrinkled rug or an obstacle, move it or remove it.
Install grab bars, either horizontally or vertically, for ease of access. Grab bars are a must if having to step into or out of a tub or entering and exiting a shower
If you have a staircase, or just a few steps up to the front porch, install railings on both sides. This allows one to safely ascend and descend the stairs and maintain balance.
If it's dark, you can't see a dangerous path and avoid it. Look for dark areas during the evening and install additional or safety lighting as to preclude accidentals slips and falls.
It's dangerous trying to enter or exit a bathtub or a shower that is slick from soap residue and water. Use non-slip mats or adhesive strips to ensure you avoid injury.
The "Safe Zone" is often overlooked.Keep frequently used items at waist level, and the need for balancing on tip toe is eliminated. Falls often occur when one is reaching for an object overhead or below the waist.