Useful questions for seniors to help prevent falls:
1. Are you wearing safe shoes and slippers?
2. Do you have handrails and adequate lighting by stairs?
3. Do you have grab bars in the bathroom if you need them?
4. Do you have a raised toilet seat and seat for the tub or shower if you need them?
5. Do you have a non-slip mat by the tub or shower to absorb water?
6. Have you gotten a mat for the bottom of the tub if it is slippery?
7. Have you removed any loose area rugs, cords, or clutter that you could trip on?
8. Do you have adequate lighting in your apartment or house?
9. Have you had your eyes and glasses checked? Vision is a very important component of balance!
10. Have you talked to your doctor about any of your medications that could affect your balance? Some medications can have a direct negative effect on balance. In addition, research has shown that taking 5 or more prescription drugs at once is a risk factor for falling.
11. Have you had your vitamin D3 and vitamin B12 levels checked? Vitamins D3 and B12 are important for balance, and levels often decrease with age. Ideally the doctor would perform appropriate tests to see if the quantity and quality of these vitamins are adequate.
12. Are you eating well and drinking enough? A nutritious diet is necessary since some vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause poor balance. Dehydration is a serious issue that, by itself, can throw you off balance. Coffee, tea, and alcohol (due to their diuretic effects) do not count as fluids for the benefit of drinking enough! If you are reluctant to drink enough because it causes you to get up and go to the bathroom at lot, think of the added exercise benefit! If you are reluctant to drink enough because of having to wake up at night to go to the bathroom, try to get your fluids in earlier in the day and minimize drinking 3 hours before going to bed.
13. Are you sleeping well? Lack of sleep, as well as the use of sleeping pills, can impair coordination and affect balance. Have you spoken to your doctor about the reasons for your lack of sleep and investigated natural remedies?
14. Are you getting enough exercise, including walking and strength, flexibility, and balance exercises? Exercise is crucial for maintaining balance!
15. How is your mood? Depression can affect balance in various ways. Depressed people are often inactive, and muscles can weaken due to lack of use. However, strong muscles are necessary for good balance. Medications for depression can also adversely affect balance. Many people improve safely with psychotherapy, classical homeopathy, and/or nutritional intervention.
16. Are you happy? Recreation, meaningful pursuits, and social activities can enhance your life. You deserve joy and fulfillment!