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Finding Your Way

What You Can Do to Prevent a Fall

Medications, exercise, environment make a difference

Stay strong with exercise

  • Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program. Doctors can recommend specific exercises for you.

  • Listen to your body and know your limits. But keep in mind that it takes time to build and regain strength.

Create a safe environment

Have your home checked. Home assessments help determine the safety of your home and identify ways to make it safer. Suggestions may include installing grab bars in the bathtub and making sure rugs are securely fastened. Area Agencies on Aging can provide informationand referrals to local home modification programs.

Talk to your doctor to see if a cane, walker or other device can help you maintain balance. Make sure the device is adjusted for your height.

Ask your doctor or hospital about a personal medical response system. Research shows that people who have fallen are more likely to fall again. Technology offers a good defense against that risk. Personal medical response systems activated by a wristband or pendant alert family or emergency services if you fall. Your doctor or hospital is probably familiar with local response systems in your area.

There's no doubt about it: Falls can be serious. That's why preventing falls before they happen is the wisest course of action.

I'm Dr. Carolyn Clancy and that's my advice on how to navigate the health care system.

Carolyn M. Clancy, a general internist and researcher, is an expert in engaging consumers in their health care. She is the director of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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