Each year, one out of three Americans over the age of 65 will fall; it’s the leading cause of fatal injury among seniors and the most common non-fatal injury. A fall may not seem like a serious issue, but they can have serious effects on seniors with weakened bones and immune systems. However, falls are not an inevitable part of aging. Most falls are preventable, and seniors can have the ability to reduce their risk.
The National Council on Aging recommends the following steps to reduce the risk of falls.
Exercise to Improve Your Balance, Strength, and Flexibility
Exercising regularly will not only help seniors stay healthy, but also reduce their risk of falling. It is a common myth that seniors should limit physical activity in order to prevent falls. However, a regimen that includes strength, balance, and flexibility exercises (i.e. yoga or Tai Chi) will help seniors stay independent longer. Don’t let the fear of falling keep you inside the house either; continuing to participate in social activities will keep you active and ward off isolation and depression.
Check in with Your Doctor
During your next check-up, ask your health care provider to assess your risk of falling, especially if you have a history of falls. Your doctor can recognize any signs of mobility loss and recommend certain steps to take to reduce your risk based on your overall health. Be sure to review your medications with your doctor as well. Some of your prescriptions may have side effects that increase your fall risk. It’s important to only take them as prescribed.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears Sharp
Poor vision and hearing are common causes of falls among seniors. Getting your vision and hearing checked annually is crucial to keeping seniors safe from falls. Since our eyes and ears can be affected as we age, it’s important to stay up to date on eyeglass prescriptions and hearing aid devices.
Create a Safe Environment at Home
Be aware of the things that increase the risk of falls and either avoid or eliminate them. Remove tripping hazards like floor rugs, clutter, and extension cords across walkways. Keep rooms well-lit so that you can see clearly, but not too bright as it may cause a glare. You may need to renovate a few things like steep staircases or cracked sidewalks. Installing hand rails and grab bars can also be helpful. Unstable furniture is also dangerous, and chairs and toilets that are too low can make it hard for seniors to stand up or sit down. Even pets can be a fall hazard. It could also benefit seniors with mobility loss to use a cane or walker to get around safely.
Talk to Your Family and Loved Ones
Getting support from family and loved ones can make a world of difference in preventing senior falls. They can help you take steps to ensure your safety, like going to doctor appointments with you or installing a hand rail in your home. Family members should also not be afraid to express their concern to a senior loved one about the dangers of falling, especially those who they fear may be at a higher risk. It may be that a senior needs someone there to help them out around the house. An in-home caregiver from Amada Senior Care will assist seniors with things like getting out of bed, bathing, getting around the house, and going for walks.
Written by Taylor French, Amada contributor.
Tags: elderly falls