Before the Fall: Take these Steps to Stay Safe

Remember that saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?

It may not apply to everything, but when it comes to avoiding a fall, a little prevention goes a long way.

Each year, one in four people   over age 65 falls. Some falls can cause serious injury. But even if it doesn’t, a fall can make people afraid they will fall again. That can lead them to move less and lose physical fitness. So, moving less can increase the risk for falling.

Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to prevent falls in the first place.

Safety tips for your home
These minor changes can make a major difference in making a house more fall-proof:

  • Get rid of things that slip and slide. Try to use non-slip rugs. If a rug isn’t non-slip, you can tack or tape it down securely.
  • Unclutter the space. Move furniture to make a wide, clear path. Don’t lay things on the floor. Move all those power cords and wires close to the wall and tape them down.
  • Make stairs safe. If the steps are broken or uneven, fix them. Clear the clutter. If the stairs are not carpeted, add a no-skid strip or paint a contrasting color along the edge of each step to make them easier to see.
  • Reorganize the kitchen. Put things you use the most on lower shelves, so you don’t have to stretch or climb up on a step stool to reach them.
  • Fix up the bath. Grab bars in the tub and by the toilet are big helps. No-skid mats on the bathroom floor and in the tub make the room safer. Add nightlights.

Safety tips away from home
These five tips could help prevent a fall outside the house.

  • Stay fit. Exercise keeps muscles toned and helps with balance, both of which help prevent falls.
  • Get screened for osteoporosis. This disease causes bones to become brittle and break easily. Ask your doctor if diet, drugs and exercise can help.
  • Know your medications. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about all the drugs (prescription and over the counter) you take. Some can cause sleepiness or dizziness.
  • Get some support. This might mean using a cane or walker. Wearing non-stick rubber-soled shoes indoors and out can also help.
  • Keep an eye on your pets. Pets can get underfoot and trip you up. Train larger pets not to jump or pull when you walk them. Smaller ones might be easier to keep track of if they have a bell on their collar.

Great news Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Medicare Advantage members: If you have a Fall Risk Assessment, you may qualify for a $25 gift card through our Rewards and Incentives program  . Visit the Healthy Activity Portal* to learn more.

*The Healthy Activity Portal is a website owned and operated by HealthMine, Inc., an independent company that provides digital health and personal clinical engagement tools and services for Blue Cross Medicare Advantage members.

Registration is required to participate. Visit www.BlueRewardsIL.com    to register and see what Healthy Actions earn rewards. Maximum annual rewards of $100 in gift cards. One reward per Healthy Action per year. Healthy Action dates of service must be in the current plan year.  Healthy Actions that earn rewards are subject to change.

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