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Preventing Falls

Cajigal, Stephanie

doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000311173.01918.e7
Department: the Waiting Room: Quick Tips

Age can make people more prone to dangerous falls, as can neurological disorders that affect movement, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson's disease,

Barbara Resnick, Ph.D., professor of nursing at the University of Maryland, has authored guidelines for doctors on helping their patients prevent falls. She says the best prevention is “exercise, exercise, and exercise.” Strong muscles help maintain balance. All it takes is about 30 minutes of moderate aerobic, strengthening, and balance exercises a day, Dr. Resnick says. To find exercises, she recommends visiting

Dr. Resnick also advises caregivers to keep their loved ones active. “The best thing you can do with mom is go for a walk with her.” Here are more tips to prevent falls:

  • ☑ Move Wisely: Think about how to move in the safest way possible before actually moving. Don't reach for things in an awkward position or carry large packages as you walk up stairs.
  • ☑ Safe-Proof Your Space: Get rid of floor clutter or electrical cords that you might trip over.
  • ☑ Wear Sturdy Footwear: Sneakers offer the best support. Slip-on shoes are the worst.
  • ☑ Check the Height of Your Bed and Chairs: You should be able to sit up while also having your feet comfortably flat on the floor. To stand, move to the edge of the chair or bed and push up using both hands.

Stephanie Cajigal

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