Mahaska Health Partnership Aids in Preventing Falls

Mahaska Health Partnership

MAHASKA COUNTY – No matter who you are, a fall can leave you injured and unable to perform daily tasks for an extended period of time. Taking precautions to prevent falls is the best way to ensure safety in and outside of the home. Mahaska Health Partnership Occupational Therapist Aimee Wagner, OTD, shares tips on how to avoid falls and reduce your risk of injury.

According to Wagner, most serious falls occur inside or near the home. “Performing a safety check of the things in your home that may cause falls can help prevent injuries in one of the spaces you spend the most time in. Going from room to room and evaluating any fall risks is important in keeping not only your family safe, but visitors as well.”

Sufficient lighting, non-skid rugs and secure handrails throughout stairways and in bathroom areas are some of the best ways to help prevent falls. “It’s important to make sure that your walkways are properly lighted and trip hazards are avoided wherever possible,” Wagner shared. “Don’t be afraid to install tools like handrails if necessary and keep items frequently used easily accessible without the need to bend or reach too high.”

For outside the home, Wagner cautions against tripping hazards. “Steps that are uneven, narrow or in bad repair can be cause for a fall. Repair any damages as soon as they are discovered. For sidewalks, fill in any holes or gaps. During the winter, keep sand or salt handy for slippery walkways and make sure there is sufficient lighting no matter what time of day if you are travelling outside.”

Another important aspect in preventing falls is visiting with your primary care provider about any health changes and medications. “Regular visits to your provider can help keep track of changes in balance, stability and mobility,” Wagner explained. “There are interventions that can help minimize those risks, such as therapy, that your provider can recommend.

“Some medications can also cause balance issues, so make sure you’re aware of any side effects and plan accordingly,” Wagner continued. “Dizziness or light-headedness can be caused by medications and then lead to falls, so review your prescriptions carefully with your provider or pharmacist. It’s also good practice to get your vision checked yearly.”

If you are unsteady, there are tools available to help minimize your risk of falls. “Non-slip shoes and socks are a great way to avoid tripping and falling,” Wagner recommended. “If you’re not feeling confident on your feet, a cane or other stability equipment can be utilized. There are many options available to help you continue living an independent life; rehabilitation therapists can help you find what works best within your needs and lifestyle.”

As a way to help people of all ages prevent falls, MHP Physical and Occupational Therapy is offering a free fall prevention workshop on Thursday, Oct. 26 from 3 to 5 pm on the MHP campus, entrance #1. The workshop will take approximately one hour to complete. Topics covered include a fall risk assessment, exercises to help improve balance and strength, as well as environmental safety tips. While the event is free, pre-registration is required. Call 641.672.3306 for more information or to register.

Aimee Wagner is an Occupational Therapist at MHP. She works with patients to improve function in all daily activities. Her favorite part of providing therapy is being able to help patients reach their functional goals after injury or illness. If you are in need of physical or occupational therapy, contact MHP Physical and Occupational Therapy at 641.672.3306.

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Posted by on Sep 20 2017. Filed under Lifestyle, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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