Aging makes you increasingly susceptible to sudden falls, and the potential for lasting injuries may leave you with physical pain and feelings of helplessness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified falls as the leading cause of injury in people over 65. Whether you’re a senior or care for elderly relatives and friends, preventing falls is important in order to avoid injuries and maintain an active lifestyle.
Remove Fall Risks in Your Home
Seniors commonly suffer head injuries or fractures in the hips, spine, shoulders and pelvis that interfere with their personal independence. Fortunately, many incidents are preventable if you are cautious of potential safety hazards in your home.
1) Keep your rooms as clutter-free as possible, and plan your furniture layouts to leave spacious pathways for walking and moving around.
2) Avoid running extension cords through open areas, across doorways or under rugs. Keep them close to walls or other out-of-the-way locations.
3) Choose seating and beds that are high enough to allow you to stand up without straining.
4) Secure or repair any loose flooring, such as area rugs and broken floorboards.
5) Equip your home with well-lit, easily accessible lighting that helps you see any obstacles in your path. Place some lamps on low furniture, or keep a flashlight close by, so you can still reach them in the event of an accident.
6) Immediately clean up any slippery materials or foods after spills.
7) Regularly inspect and repair weaknesses in supportive fixtures or furniture, such as shower handrails.
Consult with Your Doctor
You already know that the physical effects of aging can reduce your body’s endurance of injuries, but many health conditions, medications and dietary habits also contribute to those risks. Speak to your primary physician about your prescription and nonprescription medications to determine whether drug interactions or side effects, such as dizziness and disorientation, are increasing your risk of falling.
Consider starting an exercise routine to promote stronger bones and muscles and improve your balance. Ask your doctor to recommend safe activities that are compatible with your health needs or limitations, such as bicycling.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Small changes can prevent falls by eliminate falling hazards and boost your quality of life overall. Invest in smart footwear that feels sturdy, fits comfortably and doesn’t contain risky design elements, such as slippery soles or high heels. Stay up to date on examinations for your eyes and heart, and try to wean tobacco smoke and excessive alcohol consumption out of your routine. Fostering mental alertness and physical fitness are proactive ways to maintain awareness of fall risks and fortify your body against possible injuries.