BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Dr. Tom VonSternberg, Senior Medical Director of Community Senior Care, Home Care, Hospice and Care Management with HealthPartners, says avoiding falls in the home is a big part of preventative health for seniors.
“A lot of what happens with normal aging increases the risk of falling,” Dr. VonSternberg says.
He says that includes things like decreased reaction time, vision changes and a loss in muscle strength.
Dr. VonSternberg says a third of people over the age of 65 will suffer a fall in a given year, and half of those will fall more than twice.
He says walking through your home, or a loved one's, is key to see if there are any obstacles like rugs or cords that can increase the risk of a fall.
“A review of safety in the home and a review of your own physical risks of changes with balance and strength - very important,” he says.
He also recommends an annual review of medications that could increase things like feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
He adds that a collaborative approach with your aging loved one is important.
“Let them be involved in the conversation because if we try to force our recommendations on people we're going to get a lot of resistance, and that's especially true for men,” Dr. VonSternberg says. “It has to come from them. They have to feel that they're involved in the decision making.”