The Importance of Preventing Falls in Seniors
Whatever you do…don’t fall! This is the best advice to follow, right? We all know that as we age falling can have serious life threatening effects on our lives. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” During a particularly lively discussion at a Silver Maples coffee group, Bertha (a resident of Silver Maples since 2009) shared her insights and a recent personal story.
“Don’t fall,” she warned the group.
Bertha recently suffered a fall in her apartment, and despite feeling pain in her back for several days she chose not to visit the emergency room. After a week, however, the pain had worsened to the point where she knew it was best to get it looked at. As it turned out, she had broken a bone in her spine and spent several weeks recovering, Plus, her medical bills also mounted quickly- and are still growing.
“Whatever you do, don’t fall,” Bertha repeated, making sure the group knew to take her words seriously.
Bertha is not alone. Research from the CDC shows falls are the number one cause of injuries in people age 65 or older. There are several reasons why seniors fall, including having mobility or balance issues, reduced muscle strength or poor vision. Wearing improper footwear can make it easy to slip on an icy sidewalk or damp kitchen floor. Some seniors also experience weakness or dizziness from their medications. And while it’s difficult to prevent every type of accident, there are several precautions you can take to decrease your risk for a fall.
Fall Safety Tips
Because a fall can drastically affect your lifestyle, preventing one is key to keeping you active, healthy and as independent as possible. Here are a few fall prevention tips that will help decrease your risk:
Safeguard Your Home
Take a look around your current living space. Do you have throw rugs or low furniture like ottomans or coffee tables? If so, it’s time to consider removing those items, especially from high traffic areas. Your hallways should be clear of clutter and easy to navigate day or night. Speaking of nighttime, consider utilizing nightlights throughout your home so you can always see where you’re going and if anything is in your path during those late-night trips to the restroom.
Learn about Medication Side Effects
It’s not uncommon for seniors to be on a variety of both prescription and over-the-counter medications, so it’s vital that you know all about any possible side effects. The next time you visit your doctor or pharmacist, arm yourself with a list of your current medications. This way, you can discuss any negative interactions they might have that could cause a fall.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Although this may seem obvious, having a few drinks can throw off your balance and awareness. It is best to be mindful of your alcohol intake at any given time and take precautions.
Wear Proper Shoes
You might love your sparkly, gold heels or your floppy, soft slippers, but it may be time to retire that type of footwear. It’s important to wear shoes that fit your feet perfectly, provide good support and have thick, non-skid soles. Don’t walk around in stockinged feet, either, as you can easily slip on wooden or tiled floors.
Exercise Regularly and Enjoy a Healthy Diet
Exercise offers a variety of benefits to seniors, including keeping your muscles and bones strong. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day to help improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Plus, make sure you’re eating a nutritious diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D to further strengthen your bones.
Maintain Your Annual Doctor Appointments
Have you noticed any recent changes in your vision or hearing? Being able to see and hear clearly is key in preventing falls, so make sure you’re keeping your annual appointments at the eye doctor and hearing center. Or, if you notice any abrupt changes, make an appointment right away.
Unique Living Options for a Safe, Vibrant Lifestyle at Silver Maples
Silver Maples Retirement Neighborhood offers a variety of senior living options designed to fit your lifestyle. Plus, all residential accommodations include a 24-hour alert system at no additional charge, so you can rest assured that if an emergency were to occur, assistance is available. Contact us today to schedule your personal tour to see all that our beautiful community has to offer.