Maintaining your overall health and wellbeing is essential for healthy ageing and a key component of a multifactorial falls prevention strategy. Alongside the impact of existing co-morbidities, diet, medication intake and cognitive ability can influence falls risk.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don’t skip meals, and 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 – even frozen vegetables!
- Cook big batches of your favourite nutritious foods and freeze them – it makes for quick easy meals later on.
- Avoid adding extra salt to a meal; instead use herbs and spices.
- 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, are working outside or doing any exercise.
- Always have a glass of water with meals.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol.
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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Next, find out how you can keep yourself safe by removing hazards.