Assessing Your Risk of Falling
To assess your risk of falling, you need to ask yourself a number of questions. Those who live alone are, specifically, are more at risk of taking a fall than those who live with a caregiver or a loved one. As you read through these risk factors, think about discussing them at your next appointment with your health professional.
For example, one major risk factor is a history of falling. If you have already had at least one fall within the last six months, this could point to another.
Or, do you take medications? Are you taking more than four medications per day? Are you taking medications to make sleep or do you take antidepressants? The side effects could lead to dizziness or falls.
If you are taking in less than 30 minutes of exercise per day, this is a risk factor for falling. Simple gardening, housework or walking around your neighborhood counts towards your daily totals for exercise, so make sure to count that. A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of falling.
Another risk factor is your balance. Are you finding it difficult to get up out of your chair? Do you feel unsteady on your feet when you walk? Are your feet swollen or painful? There are exercises you can do that can help increase your balance, and your health professional can discuss these with you.
Previous health conditions can be a factor as well. If you have had a stroke, diabetes, problems with circulation, Parkinson's, or any major change in your health, all of these could lead to falls, and should be discussed with your health professional at your next appointment.
Finally, poor eyesight is a major cause of falls. Make sure you are getting your checkup every two years. Our eyesight can change drastically during those two years between exams, and poor eyesight can be a cause of poor balance and worse.
If you think you have any of these risk factors, see your health professional right away.
Please take a few moments to answer "YES" or "NO" the questions HERE. It will give you a guide as to how safe you are from falling and the areas of health that might need your attention.