Over the age of 65, falls become more prevalent and also more dangerous. According to the Mayo Clinic, all seniors should create their own fall prevention plan, especially if they have fallen before.
A doctor should be a teammate in creating the plan, as a senior needs to discuss current health conditions that could make him or her more susceptible to falls. This includes eye health and hearing and inner ear conditions as well as joint pain, numbness in legs and feet and shortness of breath.
Physicians should also review medication side effects. Some medications cause drowsiness or muddled thinking that could increase the likelihood of a fall. It is also important to learn the potential for any drug interactions between prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and supplements.
Seniors should also tell their physician if they have fallen before. Not every fall leaves a person on the floor. It is still a fall if someone is nearby to catch them, or if they are able to grab a rail or lean against something to regain balance.
It may seem counterintuitive, but a person who fears falling should talk to a doctor about a physical activity plan. Keeping the body strong through exercise promotes balance, coordination and flexibility. Someone who may have a physical condition that prevents an independent exercise program may need the assistance of a physical therapist.
The National Council on Aging urges seniors and their loved ones to assess their environment as part of their plan. Adequate lighting, rails on stairs and grab bars in bathrooms reduce the chances of a fall in the home.