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Welcome to Stay On Your Feet®. Information and resources to prevent falls and keep you active, because falls are preventable no matter what age you are.

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Improve Your Health

Check Your Medicines

As you age, you may experience changes which mean that you need to take medications, and in some cases, multiple medications. You may also find you are more responsive to both the effects and side effects of the medications you take.

Some medications, in particular sleeping tablets, can make you feel less alert and cause symptoms such as blurred vision, dizziness and headaches. These symptoms can increase your risk of falling.  We encourage you to ask your GP or Pharmacist questions to make sure you understand your medicines and their potential side effects before you take them.

Older adult checking his medicines
What should I look for when I check my medicines?
  • Keep an up-to-date list of your medicines. Note the use-by date and the reason why you are taking them.
  • Book a medicine check or a home medicine review with your GP or Pharmacist.
  • If you have been taking sleeping tablets for longer than two weeks, please ask your GP about a gradual reduction plan.
  • Do not share medicines with others. Mixing medicines can increase side effects.
  • Ask your Pharmacist to organise your medicines into a dosage administration aid or Webster Pack, so you know which medications you need to take and when.
  • Pay attention to how your body and mind feel. If you notice any changes such as feeling dizzy,  drowsy, depressed, or in pain, please speak to your GP.
  • To download or order a free copy of a NPS medicines list click here or call NPS on (02) 8217 8700.
Who can help
  • Council on the Ageing WA: www.cotawa.asn.au
  • National Prescribing Service: www.nps.org.au
  • Your GP (you might like to ask them about a home medicine review)
  • Your local Pharmacist

Keep a Healthy Mind

Your brain can lose it’s strength just like your muscles. However, getting older does not mean that your mind and mental strength have to decline.

Keeping your brain active is very important at every age. There are many simple and enjoyable activities that can help you to keep your brain active, in and around your home and community. These activities work to stimulate your brain and improve your mental fitness.

Staying social is also very important for a healthy mind, and it is a great way to make friends in your local community.

How can I keep an active and alert mind?
  • Keep your brain active to improve your reaction time and alertness to hazards. Try activities such as puzzles, reading and home repairs.
  • Playing games with your grandkids or joining social groups are fun ways to keep your brain alert.
  • Drink alcohol responsibly.
Who can help

Fuel Your Body

In order to stay strong and healthy, it is important to stay hydrated, drink less alcohol and eat regular meals from a variety of food groups.

Eating healthy, regular meals with a variety of nutritious food from the five main food groups is extremely beneficial in staying strong and reducing the risk of a fall. Eating a variety of foods regularly ensures the body is constantly getting all the nutrients and energy it needs, all day.

Drinking water will help keep the body healthy and active. It is important to ensure that you drink plenty of water to help keep you hydrated, especially during activity and in the warmer months.

Drinking alcohol can increase your chance of a fall. As you get older, alcohol affects your body differently. It slows down brain activity which in turn affects alertness, reaction time and coordination.

 
Tips for healthy eating
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Always eat breakfast
  • Eat with other people; eating meals with your family and friends keeps you well-nourished and mentally active
  • Cook with fresh, colourful ingredients
  • Cook big batches of your favourite nutritious foods and freeze them – it makes for quick easy meals later on
  • Use frozen vegetables
  • Avoid adding extra salt to a meal; instead use herbs and spices.
Vitamin D and Calcium

Calcium

Calcium is required for normal bone development and maintenance of the skeleton. It forms with other minerals to make the bones hard and strong. Studies have shown that older people do not have enough calcium in their diet to maintain their bone strength and prevent bone loss, therefore placing people at increased risk of a fracture if they fall.

Foods that contain an adequate amount of calcium include:

  • Milk and milk products
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Soy and tofu
  • Fish, especially canned fish like sardines and salmon
  • Nuts and seeds, especially almonds.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb more calcium. We get vitamin D from some foods and sunshine, which helps our body to make its own vitamin D. Perth’s climate is considered optimal for preventing vitamin D deficiency; however a Western Australian study found people with reduced mobility, activity and exposure to sunlight had a high chance of being vitamin D deficient.

The following are all sources of vitamin D:

  • Natural sun light
  • Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel
  • Fish liver oil
  • Some dairy products

It is important to check with your GP regarding calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Tips for staying hydrated
  • Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning
  • Have a water bottle with you throughout the day
  • Take a water bottle with you when you leave the house
  • Have a water bottle present when working outside or doing any exercise
  • Always have a glass of water with meals.
Tips for drinking less alcohol
  • Keep less alcohol in the house, or try only drinking alcohol when you go out
  • Use small glasses when consuming alcohol
  • Avoid filling wine glasses up fully as full glasses can contain more than one standard drink
  • Drink slowly and always put your drink down between sips
  • Have one drink, followed by a glass of water
  • Eat while, or before, you drink alcohol
  • It is important not to skip meals when you are drinking alcohol and make sure any meals you do have while drinking alcohol are nutritious
  • Add ice or water to dilute your drink
  • Seek advice from your GP if necessary, especially if you think alcohol may be becoming a problem for you.
Who can help

Nutrition Australia WA: www.nutritionaustralia.org/wa

Foodbank WA: www.foodbankwa.org.au

It is important to note that smoking is a key contributing factor for many health issues. It has a negative effect on the body’s overall health and increases the risk of falls.

Improving Your Health is a great way to stay independent and prevent falls.

Next find out how you can keep yourself safe by removing hazards.

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Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters