Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson's disease (PD), and preventing falls is very important. While many people might think the falls are directly related to the motor symptoms of PD, and certainly these are often to blame, there are many other contributing factors to be aware of! These could include non-motor symptoms such as low blood pressure, constipation and fatigue, medications and previous falls. Being aware of these is a first step to preventing a fall.
So how can PD-related falls be prevented? Once you are aware of potential contributing factors to falls, there are some actions that you can take to be aware of and lessen your risk.
- Talk to your health care team- your doctors can help to assess whether your medications, physical condition, stress and/or environmental dangers are potentially contributing to your risk of falls.
- Exercise- exercise plays a super important role in keeping you healthy and maintaining your ability to participate in activities of daily living. They help you to maintain the postural stability and mobility needed to prevent falls.
- Perform a home safety check- remove loose wires, cords and throw rugs from your floors; install grab bars in your bathroom tub or shower and make sure all halls, stairways and entrances are well lit. Contact your local Senior Helpers office to come out and perform a free in-home assessment.
- Don’t wear shoes with rubber or gripping soles as they may ‘catch’ on the floor and cause tripping.
- Keep at least one hand free at all times; try using a backpack or fanny pack to hold things rather than carrying them in your hands.
- If balance is a continuous problem, you may want to consider a walking aid such as a cane, walking stick, or walker.