Friday, Sept. 22, is Fall Prevention Day.
For seniors, the threat of falling is very real. More than one in four adults over the age of 65 fall every year, and one out of five falls result in serious injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The fear of falling is understandable, according to a news release. A simple fall can have life-altering effects and potentially lead to loss of independence. However, it’s important not to let the fear of falling lead to inactivity, which further increases fall risk by decreasing strength, balance and flexibility.
Seniors can prevent falls and remain active well into old age by taking these precautions:
Stay physically active to maintain strength and balance, which typically weaken with age.
Speak with your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of medications you take. If you notice any side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness, contact your doctor.
Regular eye and ear exams ensure that a loss in sight or hearing isn’t putting you at risk.
Simplify your home and make modifications, if necessary. Keep walkways clutter free. Remove unsecured throw rugs and obstacles, such as cords. Make sure railings are sturdy and install grab bars by the toilet, bathtub and shower. Use no-slip mats in and around the bathtub or shower. Keep the home well-lit.
Get enough sleep.
Limit alcohol. Even small amounts can effect balance and reflexes.
Stand up slowly. Getting up too quickly can cause blood pressure to drop, making you dizzy. When getting up from bed, sit up for several minutes before standing.
Use a correctly sized walking aid. If you’re unsteady, always use a walker, cane or other assistive device when moving and keep it nearby at all times.
Wear supportive, rubber-soled shoes and non-skid slippers. Don’t walk around in socks.
Invest in a medical alert system so that in the event of a fall or emergency, you are never alone.
Home care is a great ally for elderly individuals who are at an increased risk of falling or recovering from a fall. Professional caregivers are trained to care for individuals with diseases or conditions that heighten their fall risk. They can also provide assistance and encouragement to help seniors stay fit to prevent injuries from falls.