Did you know one-fourth of Americans, age 65 and older, fall each year? (1) Senior falls are frightening incidents for both the individual and their family. A sudden slip may result in a hip fracture, broken bone, or even a head injury. Even if there is no injury, it can be disheartening to the elderly — posing a reminder they can’t get around like they used to. While you might not be able to turn back the clock, there are several things you can do to mitigate the risk. Stay healthy this season with these five tips for preventing senior falls.
1. Troubleshoot With Your Doctor
Are you taking prescriptions, over-the-counter medication or supplements? Make an appointment with your doctor to review side effects that may be increasing the risk. Also be weary of medication that causes drowsiness or blurring of the vision. Discuss your health conditions freely with your doctor and they may be able to provide some options to increase your balance and steadiness.
2. Keep Yourself Moving
One of the best ways for preventing senior falls is by keeping your joints and muscles moving. As long as it’s alright with your doctor, participating in walking and gentle water exercise. Look for low-impact activities that improve strength, coordination, and flexibility.
If you’re unable to partake in an exercise regime, our McCortney Hospice team recommends getting in touch with a monitored program set up by a physical therapist.
3. Wear Sensible Footwear
Heals and slippery sandals may not be the most supportive footwear for you. They’re quick to make you stumble, so avoid them as much as possible. Opt for properly fitting shoes with nonskid soles. Certain shoes have also shown to reduce impact, helping cushion the joints in your feet.
4. Remove Household Hazards
Some of the most notable falling hazards are right there in your own home. Tuck away cords and clear walkways. Next, check your living room, bedroom, bathroom and hallways for loose floorboards or carpeting. Lastly, store clothing, food, toiletries, and other necessities easily within reach. Simple tasks such as these mitigate the risk for senior falls.
5. Use Some Assistance
Don’t use a cane or walker? There are plenty of other resources out there to steady your pace. Make sure you’re using hand rails when traveling up and down stairs. Items such as nonslip treads, raised toilet seats, grab bars, and bathmats greatly reduce the risk of falling.
What tips do YOU have for preventing senior falls? We’d love to hear your advice in the comments below.