During the month of September, we recognize various balance awareness initiatives including Vestibular Awareness Week and Fall Prevention Awareness Day. Allegheny Medical would like to take time and assist in bringing awareness to issues or problems that may cause us to wobble, stumble, or fall. Depending on how old you are, a fall can be quite dangerous. As a kid you may have fallen and scraped your knee, but as a middle-aged adult or someone who is elderly, a fall can potentially lead to serious injury threatening safety and independence. We will discuss some tips and recommendations to prevent you from falling.
One of the more common places people fall is in the shower or getting in or out of the bathtub. When you take a shower or bath, the bottom surface of the tub will, obviously, be wet and slick which causes people to slip or misstep and ultimately get hurt. There are two simple things you can do to prevent this. The first, is to get a shower mat, they are an easy fix and help increase the friction of the bottom of the bathtub. These mats have very rough or bumpy surfaces that increase the amount of friction there is between the floor of the tub and your feet. More friction means less chances to slip and fall. The second preventative step to take is to install a grab bar on the inside or outside of the tub or even anywhere in your home to allow for something to allow for extra safety. Grab bars can be professionally installed via screws and plates or there are options that suction and stay on the walls for quick placement and removal. The purpose of the grab bar is to give you another point of contact to steadily transfer in and out of the tub, with more confidence and less chance of slipping.
Falling is not a normal part of aging, and can be prevented. If you feel like you are “unsteady” or find yourself stumbling frequently, an appointment with one of our providers may be of benefit to discuss your imbalance. Chances are there is a reason for it and we can help you to feel a greater sense of stability and comfort. Strength and balance exercises, managing medications, having your vision checked, and assuring a safe obstacle-free living environment are all steps that can be taken to prevent falls. The health and safety of our patients is our number one priority, let us assist you in determining the cause of your imbalance and get you back to feeling stable on your feet. Schedule your appointment today.