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Short List of Fall Prevention Strategies

Short List of Fall Prevention Strategies  11/9/18Cognitive problems increase the risk of walking impairment and instability in many ways.  If someone you know, love, or care for is at increased risk for falls for this reason, there is reason to be concerned and there are ways to be proactive in reducing the risks. 

This week’s Health and Wellness Alert from the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health referenced work from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society which stated, “People with moderate cognitive impairment or dementia are twice as likely to fall as their cognitively healthy same-age counterparts, and they are more likely to end up in a long-term care facility in the aftermath.”

Four general strategies that can improve mobility and decrease the risk for falls are:

1. Visit with your physician and/or pharmacist about medications.  They may be able to recommend ways to minimize the use of any drugs that can impair cognition and reaction time.

2. Do simple muscle-strengthening and balance-training exercises.  These are taught as part of the NDSU Extension falls prevention program, “Stepping On.”

3. If vision or hearing problems exist, get them corrected.  Deficits in these areas are associated with a higher risk of falling.

4. Assess your home for fall hazards.  Area rugs, extension cords, and other obstacles in the walking areas of the home can cause a person to trip or fall and should be removed.  Good lighting in all areas of the home, especially at night, helps prevent falls.  This includes hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms.  Handrails to grasp on both sides of a staircase make them safer, too.

NDSU Extension offers “Stepping On” as a short, comprehensive, hands-on, interactive falls prevention program.  Contact the Extension office in Sargent county (701-724-3355, extension 5) if you and a few friends, neighbors, or others you know would like to have “Stepping On” in your Sargent county community.

Source:  “Cognitive Decline Boosts Risk of Falling: 4 Ways to Reduce the Threat,” UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Health and Wellness Alerts – Memory Alert, 11-5-18.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/falling-tripping-forward-warning-98712/ (downloaded 11/14/18)



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