10 ways to reduce your risk of falling

We’re taught from a young age that when you fall down, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on. But, it is important to remember that falling, tripping, stumbling and slipping can be much more serious, especially as we age.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls are the leading cause of injury for people 65 years and older, with 20 to 30 per cent of Canadian seniors having at least one fall each year. In fact, falls cause 85 per cent of injury-related hospitalizations for seniors, and 50 per cent of falls resulting in hospitalizations happen at home.
 
To help reduce your risk of a fall – no matter what your age – here are a few good habits to pick up:
 
Take it easy: Slow down and take your time when walking. Change positions slowly and avoid quick or sudden movements. When lying down, sit on the edge of the bed first, then rise to stand slowly to fully balance before beginning to walk.
 
 
Healthy habits: Eat well, stay hydrated and exercise regularly to keep your body healthy and happy.
 
 
Know the side effects: Visit your physician or pharmacist to see if your medications can cause dizziness or may make you prone to falling.
 
 
Sole decision: Treat your feet with sturdy, comfortable, non-slip footwear.
 
 
Tidy up: Check your home for slipping or tripping hazards like cluttered steps, icy walkways or slippery floors.
 
 
Check it out: Make sure you can pick out any obstacles in your path by having your vision and hearing checked regularly.
 
 
Light it up: Rather than stumble around in the dark, turn on the lights, plug in a nightlight or use a flashlight to light your way.
 
 
Equip yourself if needed: Use safety equipment like canes, walkers, hand rails and grab bars to stay steady on your feet.
 
 
Watch your step: When walking outside or in unfamiliar areas, keep an eye out for any tripping or slipping hazards ahead.
 
 
Help is on the way: Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re worried about falling.