Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of articles submitted by the Cass County Falls Awareness Taskforce that will be published in September in recognition of Falls Prevention Month.

Fact or myth?  Maintaining proper muscle strength is not the only factor to prevent a fall. Prevention involves the entire body system and the environment.

Vision facts

Eye sight is an important part of preventing a fall. Poor vison increases the risk of falls. Most vision problems and diseases for older adults can be fixed and/or improved by completing routine eye examinations and/or using corrective glasses.  

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient to help maintain eyesight, but it won’t improve eyesight. Carrots have a high level of Vitamin A, which is a good reason to eat carrots. Eating other foods high in Vitamin A will also help maintain healthy eyesight.  Such foods include sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomato juice, mangos, spinach, black-eyed peas, etc.  

• Allow for the eyes to adjust to the changes when transitioning from outside to inside.

• Keep eye glasses close to the bedside.  Use nightlights throughout the home.   

• Walk slowly and keep a look out for objects in the pathway.  Do not hurry.

• Watch out for pets, toys, electric cords and clutter.

• Keep outside walkways free from loose rocks, sticks and leaves.

• Repair or mark uneven steps, sidewalks and driveways.

Hearing facts

As adults age they are at higher risk of hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can affect overall health and wellbeing. Certain forms of hearing loss can affect balance and increase dizziness.

Some forms of hearing loss are irreversible yet adaptive hearing equipment or surgeries can improve hearing ability. Get hearing checked every year or upon experiencing changes in hearing. Avoid loud noises. Wear ear plugs if loud noises cannot be avoided.

Nutrition facts

In addition to exercise, proper nutrition is needed to help maintain muscle strength and healthy bones. It is never too late to make necessary changes to improve overall health and well-being.

Health goes beyond weight. Health matters on the inside of our bodies too.

• Talk to a health care professional or nutrition specialist to learn about the kinds of foods the body needs to be healthy.

• Portion control is important to ensure the body receives a variety of nutrients and keeps the digestive system from overloading, while allowing the body to absorb nutrients and not store fats.  The body may not absorb all the nutrients if you eat more food. It has to be the right food.

• Stay hydrated.  Water provides numerous health benefits and helps reduce the risk of becoming dizzy or lightheaded.    

Good vision and hearing along with proper nutrition are vital to reducing the risk of falls. Use these helpful tips to increase chances of staying safe and healthy.

Additional information along with the Falls Prevention Bingo Game can be found on the Cass County Live Healthy website at http://www.co.cass.mn.us/livehealthy/preventfall_prevention.php

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