One in every three adults ages 65 or older experiences a fall. Besides causing serious injury, a fall could also limit your activity and keep you from living independently. Even routine activities can lead to a fall. However, many falls can be prevented. Regular physical activity and fall prevention exercises will build your leg strength and improve your balance. Sturdy shoes with non-skid soles will help prevent slips and trips. You can reduce your risk of falling at home by removing obstacles from walkways, securing loose rugs and installing handrails along stairs and in the bathroom. If you have been experiencing falls or difficulties with balance, talk to your provider about additional fall prevention strategies.
Fall Prevention Resources
- National Institute of Health: Fall Prevention Exercises
- Complete Home Safety Checklist
- STAR Fall Risk Reduction Program
- Fall Prevention Tips
Eating Healthy on a Budget
Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive. Careful planning and basic cooking skills can help you balance both your calories and your budget. Here are a few wallet-friendly strategies:
- Plan your meals and snacks in advance. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
- Clip coupons and check the weekly sales, then plan your meals around what is on sale.
- Buy in bulk (the price per unit is often cheaper) and stock up on your staple foods at a discounted price.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry! It will make it more difficult to stick to your shopping list.
- Include meals like stews, casseroles, or stir fries, which stretch expensive items into more portions. Inexpensive meal ideas.
- Beans, eggs, peanut butter, and tuna are good sources of protein for a good price.
- Go back to the basics and make meals from scratch. Convenience foods (like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables and instant oatmeal) are usually more expensive.
- Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season.
- Canned or frozen vegetables and fruit are good alternatives to fresh. Stock up when they go on sale. Select fruit that is frozen, unsweetened or canned in its own juice. Select vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.
- Read labels to ensure that you are getting the best quality nutrition for your dollar. FDA: Understanding Nutrition Labels.
Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
If you have high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to measure your blood pressure at home so you can tell if your treatment is working and report the readings to your provider. Often your provider can make adjustments to your treatment by phone.
How to select a blood pressure cuff to use at home:
- For ease of use, we recommend an electronic blood pressure monitor. Omron monitors have been tested and found to be reliable. They cost about $40 at local pharmacies.
- A manual cuff used with a stethoscope is also a good choice, if you have reasonable manual dexterity and hearing. These are less expensive.
- You need a cuff that fits your arm. Cuffs are marked with a size range. Purchase a large cuff if needed. If the cuff is too small, blood pressure readings will be falsely high.
- Don’t buy a monitor that uses a cuff on your forearm or finger—they’re not accurate.
How to measure your blood pressure accurately:
- Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, or exercise for 30 minutes before you measure.
- Measure at the same time each day.
- Place the cuff around a bare arm.
- Rest for five minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
- Sit with your back supported, your feet flat on the floor, and your arm supported (with the upper arm at heart level) while you measure your blood pressure.
- Don’t talk while you are measuring.
- Record both the top number (systolic pressure) and the bottom number (diastolic pressure), along with the date and the time taken.
- Take two or three readings one minute apart each time you measure, and record all of the results.
Your blood pressure will vary from hour to hour, and from day to day. This is normal. It’s good to take measurements on several days, and figure the average. For most people with a diagnosis of high blood pressure, a good blood pressure is less than 140/90. Your doctor will tell you if you need a different goal blood pressure.
- If your blood pressure is within the target range you and your doctor have set, you can keep checking it at home.
- If your blood pressure is consistently higher than your goal, call your provider’s office.
- If your blood pressure is higher than 180 systolic, or 110 diastolic, for three or more readings, call and see your provider the same day.
- See your provider at least once a year (or more frequently if advised by your provider) to review your treatment.
You can take steps to manage high blood pressure by taking your medication regularly and choosing a healthy lifestyle:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Be physically active.
- Follow a healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy foods (such as the DASH diet).
- Choose and prepare foods with less sodium.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, drink in moderation (no more than two per day).
- If you smoke, quit!