As you become older, one of the many joys is that you are more likely to fall. Why? Your sense of balance is just not the same it was when you were on the high school swim team and of course neither is your muscle mass. You can’t react as quickly to say tripping over a rock. You could pick out a small wedding ring on that gorgeous young female a hundred yards away and now you’d be lucky to see her face at all without your glasses. And of course, you probably weren’t on multiple medications, many of which are water pills- read dehydration and weakness- or have some other awful effects on your balance and alertness.

Falls are a major problem for older adults. A hip fracture in an 80 year carries with it a high likelihood of dying either from the hip fracture itself or the hospitalization and poor mobility associated with that fracture. Many are on blood thinners and even a small bump to the head can cause bleeding within the brain. Sometimes falls make it impossible to summon help.

There are several ways to reduce your risk of falling:

1.Have a family member or a general contractor experienced in his field check out your house. You should have nonslip floors or carpet. Handrails should be in the bathroom and in any other area where you might require help getting up. You should avoid stairs if at all possible. Your house should be well lit and night lighting adjusted so that you can see your way to say the bathroom. Many other improvements are needed. These are well worth the effort and money, as they have been shown to prevent falls.

2. Consider hiring an aide to help with daily activities such as cooking, cleaning and even bathroom activities, if you are having difficulties there.

3. Review all medications carefully with your primary care physician. Do not add medications from any other doctors without telling your doctor about all medications. If you feel weaker or more dizzy after starting a new medication, let your doctor know right away.

4.If your eyesight seems poor, see an eye doctor. Older individuals are more likely to suffer from cataracts and diseases within the retina.

5.Exercises which help balance and muscle mass are great! Consider an experienced personal trainer or physical therapist to help design the right program for you.

6.Make use of family and friends, especially those who have the time and desire to help. Not only will you enjoy their company, they can make it easier for you.

7. Be careful doing things that you’re not so sure you should be doing. Alcohol doesn’t mix with most medications. Perhaps you should hold off on cleaning that high window. Maybe you shouldn’t be riding a bike.

8. Talk with your doctor and trusted family members about living options, if you don’t know whether you can make it by yourself or just with your husband. You might be better off, for example, at senior living center, where help with daily activities is readily available