These tips can help you lower your risk of falling

A fall at an older age can have disastrous consequences. The number of elderly people who die after a fall continues to increase. In 2022, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) will report that the number of fatal falls has almost doubled in 10 years. Sufficient exercise and fall prevention are ways to ensure that the risk decreases, even from a younger age. We list what you can do to prevent a fall.

Remove risks in and around the house

A large number of falls happen in and around the house. It is therefore advisable to take a critical look around you. A loose rug, cords, a slippery floor or a high step can cause a lot of trouble. By tackling these matters (or having them tackled), you immediately reduce the risks. You can do this, for example, with an anti-slip layer or by attaching and hiding cables.

Climbing stairs also carries risks. In an earlier article we give tips to keep climbing stairs safer.

In addition, make sure that you always do something on your feet that gives you a lot of grip. Incorrect or too slippery footwear can significantly increase the risk of a fall. If you don’t like wearing shoes in the house, choose sturdy, well-fitting slippers and only take them off when sitting. In a previous article we give more tips about safe and unsafe footwear.

In the garden, a wooden platform can cause slippery situations. So such a floor may not be the most suitable option. If you do have one, we have tips to prevent a very slippery deck. It is also advisable to keep the (garden) paths you walk and the sidewalk in front of your house free of leaves. Since leaves in combination with rain provide a lot of slipperiness.

If it is slippery due to winter weather, it may be wise not to go outside at the slipperiest moments. But for those who still have to go outside, for example to do some shopping, we have tips to prevent slips.

Make sure you have enough muscle power

With age, muscle strength decreases and endurance declines. Reaction also slows down. These aspects ensure that a fall is more likely to occur. Staying active and exercising with your balance can reduce the risk of falling. For example, consider holding the counter while standing on tiptoe and walking back and forth 3 times. Or by standing on one leg while brushing the teeth. This improves your balance. The Netherlands in motionpresenter Olga Commandeur has listed a number of useful tips and exercises especially to reduce the risk of a fall. For example, she emphasizes the importance of continuing to climb stairs.

Medication check

Sometimes drugs or a certain combination of drugs increase the risk of falling. Therefore, stay well informed about what you are taking and whether new medicines are suitable for those you are already taking. It never hurts to have this checked again by your doctor or pharmacy. It may also be possible to switch to another drug that works better for you.

The importance of nutrition

Your diet can literally make you feel better about yourself. If you are not sure whether you are getting enough vitamins and proteins, for example, consult your doctor. Also make sure that you continue to drink enough (water), even if you do not feel thirsty. This can just ensure that you maintain more balance while walking.

Good vision reduces the risk of falling

It is important that you see where you are walking. Therefore, make sure that any glasses have the correct strength and that the lenses are clean. In addition, make sure that the house is light enough. During the day by letting in plenty of daylight and when it is dark, with lamps. If you often go to the toilet at night, a light that switches on automatically when you get out of bed may be an idea.

National program plan Fall prevention in the making

Fall prevention is not only very important for personal situations. It is also very important to reduce the pressure on care and to maintain the self-reliance of the elderly. The knowledge center for injury prevention safety.nl reports on its website that the cabinet has included a measure for this in the Coalition Agreement. This states that from 2023 fall prevention must be widely implemented in the Netherlands. The program plan for this is in the making. This makes it possible to carry out fall prevention activities on a large scale for elderly people with an increased risk of falling. But even outside this national plan, a lot is already possible in the field of fall prevention. If you are afraid of falling or if you want to reduce the risk of this, ask your doctor about possible help in this area.

(Source: ANP, safety.nl, archive. Photo: Shutterstock)

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