How To Prevent Falls And Maintain Your Independence

How To
Prevent Falls
And Maintain Your
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about The Harwin Balancer and
how it can help you to become
more stable and secure go to:
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Courtesy of Harwin Performance, LLC
You CAN Help Yourself!
As we get older our bodies change and we become more susceptible to falls. Many people
believe that falling is a normal, inevitable part of
aging but this is not necessarily true. Lack of
knowledge of how to prevent falls can be a huge
contributing factor.
Being aware of the risk factors for falls is the
first step to preventing them. The greater the
number of risk factors to which a person is exposed, the greater the probability of falling.
Many risk factors are preventable and it’s our
hope that this booklet will start you on your way
to reducing your chances of falling and increasing your sense of confidence and independence.
References and Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348
National Institute on Aging Information Center
P.O. Box 8057 Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057
800-222-2225 (toll-free) 800-222-4225 (TTY/toll-free)
National Institute on Aging, Falls and Fractures
National Safety Council
1121 Spring Lake Drive Itasca, IL 60143-3201
Fall Prevention Center of Excellence headquartered at
the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center, 3715 McClintock Ave., Room 228, Los Angeles, California 90089-0191.Tel: (213)740-1364;
The Role of Balance
Quick Facts
As we age our sense of balance is compromised through trauma, injury, surgery, and just
getting older. Since losing our balance is a prelude to a fall, this very same sense of balance is
what we need to focus on to prevent falls and
live our lives to the fullest extent possible. Better
balance and posture can literally be a lifesaver!
All forms of physical activity are helpful in maintaining strength, flexibility and muscle tone and
it is never too late to start exercising! The flowing, movements of Tai Chi are an easy way for
seniors to improve their balance, stress levels,
and general sense of well being.
The Harwin Balancer is a gentle way to reprogram the specialized cells in your muscles,
joints, and tendons that help monitor the position of your body. It helps your brain to know
what your body is doing. This helps you to keep
your body upright, strengthens the body’s ability
to balance when walking, and prevents falling.
One out of three adults age 65 or older
falls each year
Falls are the leading cause of injury death
among older adults and also the most
common cause of nonfatal injuries and
hospital admissions for trauma
Two-thirds of those who experience a fall
will fall again within six months
Less than half of those that fall talk to their
healthcare providers about it
20-30% of people who fall suffer moderate
to severe injuries and can increase the
risk of early death
Death rates from falls among older men
and women have risen sharply over the
past decade
In 2009, about 20,400 older adults died
from unintentional fall injuries
Falls are a public health problem that is
largely preventable!
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 9/20/12
Anxious About Falling?
We all stumble or trip at some point, but fear of
falling can become a serious worry and difficult
to deal with if not addressed quickly.
This anxiety can stem from having had a fall already but it can prey on your mind even if you
haven’t fallen before. You may become more
cautious, limit what you are willing to do and
lose confidence in carrying out daily tasks and
activities. You may even stop wanting to go out
on your own. Worrying in this way is not unusual
and can make you anxious, isolated or depressed. Fears about losing your independence
can also make you reluctant to seek help.
It’s important not to let such thoughts stop you
from taking positive steps to get help. The purpose of fall prevention is to enable you to live as
independent and enjoyable a life as possible.
This is the case whether you have had a fall already, or are intent on preventing one.
Keep warm, cold muscles work less well
and can lead to injuries
Do exercises to strengthen the muscles
you use for walking and lifting
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review
your medicines, both prescription and over
-the-counter, to identify any that might
cause dizziness or drowsiness
When you get up from bed during the
night or in the morning, sit on the side of
the bed for a minute or two before you
stand up. This will give your blood pressure time to adjust and you will feel less
dizzy (make sure you have a night light or
Get adequate calcium and vitamin D from
food and/or supplement
Limit alcohol intake
What You Can Do to Prevent Falls
Risk Factors
Make sure your home environment is as
safe as possible:
Wear shoes with non-skid soles (not
house slippers)
Make sure your home is well lit
Use night lights in bedroom, bathroom, hallway and stairs
Keep a flashlight by your bed
Remove throw rugs or fasten them
to the floor with carpet tape, tack
down carpet edges
Put grab bars in bathtub, shower,
and toilet area
Have handrails on both sides of
Don’t climb on stools or stepladders,
have someone help you
Reduce clutter and don’t put electrical cords across pathways
Have your eyes checked every year and
your hearing checked every two years
See your doctor if you have foot pain or
corns; sore feet can make you fall
Make regular exercise such as walking,
gardening or dancing a part of your life
Balance, gait or mobility problems including
those due to degenerative joint disease and
motor disorders such as stoke
Lack of physical activity which results in
poor muscle tone, reduced flexibility, decreased bone mass and loss of balance
Normal changes of aging such as poor eyesight or hearing and not wearing glasses
that have been prescribed
Side effects from some medications can upset your balance and make you fall such as
medicines for depression, sleep problems
or high blood pressure
Some medicines for diabetes and heart
conditions can also make you unsteady on
your feet
If you are taking four or more medications
If you have changed your medicine within
the past two weeks
Health conditions such as: Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis
Environmental Hazards Contribute to
One Third of Falls in the Elderly
More Risk Factors
 Surgeries such as hip replacements can
leave you weaker, in pain and less mobile
than before the surgery
Poor lighting, particularly on stairs
Tripping over power cords in walkways
Loose carpets or rugs
Slippery floors
Lack of safety equipment such as grab
rails or night lights
Cluttered stairs and floors
Uneven sidewalks and pathways
 Impaired cognition, dizziness or depression
 Day-to-Day Activities such as:
Standing up too quickly
Rushing (for example to get to the bath
room or answer the phone)
Changing directions too quickly to avoid
bumping into someone or tripping
over something