Fall Prevention for Seniors
As we age, our bodies don’t respond the same way they did in our youth. One unfortunate result of growing old is more difficulty with coordination, balance, and strength, which can increase the risk of a fall. This can be compounded by necessary medications, and with age, comes a loss of bone density that can make a fall much more dangerous than that same fall would have been a couple of decades ago. Read on for important tips to keep yourself upright and healthy.
The first step should be consulting with your doctor or primary care provider. Providing your senior care provider with information such as medications you’re taking, details of any falls or near-falls you’ve suffered in recent history, or any medical conditions you might be suffering from that could increase your risk, can help your doctor to come up with a plan for you to strategize and reduce the risk of suffering a fall that could be detrimental to your health.
And while it may seem counter-intuitive, staying active and moving can help reduce your risk of falling. Gentle exercise can help keep your body and muscles healthy, allowing you to counteract the effects of aging and retaining your balance, coordination, and muscle tone. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous like weightlifting or rock-climbing, but something and low impact can go a long way. Walking, tai chi, yoga, even something like golf or bowling, all of these can be an effective defense against the risk of falling. And if you’re worried about starting physical activity because your risk of falling is already too great, then consulting with your doctor or another health professional about undertaking a closely supervised regimen of careful and deliberate exercise can be a great start. Consider getting light exercise with friends or as part of a class tailored to seniors.
Consider your living environment to defend against falls. Going through your house and removing any hazards like clutter in entryways, hallways, or other through areas will help you greatly. Secure any throw rugs to the floor with tape or a dedicated fastening system, or remove them from the home altogether. Store all of your clothing, dishes, and other necessities low to the ground and within easy reach. Installing or increasing the amount of lighting in halls and other rooms can help to clearly illuminate footpaths, preventing you from encountering unexpected obstacles.
Finally, installing mobility aids or other such assistance in your home can help. While you could use a cane or a walker, installing support rails in your hallways and on both sides of any stairs you might have at home can help aid you in navigating them. Since a lot of falls happen in the bathroom, due to wet, slippery conditions, having to step in and out of the tub, and other hazards, placing non-slip mats in and around your bathtub and shower stalls, installing safety rails to assist with entering and exiting, and adding a shower or bath seat can keep you whole and healthy.
If you would like more information on fall prevention for yourself or a loved one, please reach out to Senior Helpers for a free LIFE Profile assessment.