How can I reduce my risk of falling?
Talk to your doctor about fall prevention.
Every year I feel a bit more unsteady and worry about falling. What can I do to help keep that from happening?
Falling is a real problem as we age. In fact, one in four Americans over 65 falls every year.
The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to keep safe from falling. And a great time to talk about it is at your Annual Wellness Visit. You can talk to your doctor about what causes falls and how to fix them.
What can cause a fall?
Most falls are caused by a combination of things. The more you have going on, the greater your chances of falling.
Do you have any of these?
- Lower body weakness
- Low vitamin D
- Problems with walking and balance
- Use of medicines. Even some over-the-counter medicines can hurt your balance and make you unsteady on your feet.
- Vision problems
- Foot pain or poor footwear
- Uneven staircase or loose throw rugs that can cause you to trip
How to reduce falls
- Find a good balance and exercise program. It’s important to build your balance and strength and be more flexible.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to go over your list of medicines. Some side effects can increase your risk of falling. Also, make sure to take your medicines according to the label.
- Get your vision and hearing checked every year. Your eyes and ears are key to good balance and keeping you on your feet.
- Keep your home safe. Remove anything that could cause you to trip. Add lights and grab bars in key areas, like the bathroom. Make sure there are two secure rails on all stairs.
- Ask friends or family to do a walk-through of your home. They may be able to find (and fix) other problems.
Talk to your doctor about keeping safe from falling at your next Annual Wellness Visit.
Keeping yourself safe from falling is critical to staying healthy. Be sure to talk about it at your next Annual Wellness Visit.
In good health,
Joshua Jacobs, MD, FAAFP
National Medical Director, Provider Intelligence
Clinical Performance, Optum Care
Will Medicare cover an Annual Wellness Visit?
Yes, but note two details:
- Medicare sets the price of the Annual Wellness Visit. This is the amount that Medicare will pay your doctor for it.
- You need to have your Annual Wellness Visit with a doctor or other provider who accepts Medicare.
You pay nothing for the Annual Wellness Visit. (You have no deductible or coinsurance.)
- National Council on Aging
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.