By Natasha Woods
As we age, our body becomes weaker and mobility can become a problem. Which is why falling is one of the most common incidents linked to injuries and even death among seniors. Every 11 seconds, a senior is admitted to the emergency room seeking treatment due to a fall.
Falling can cause significant injury. Below are five ways to prevent falling and to protect yourself from injuries and worse outcomes.
1. Make stairs easier to climb with a stair lift
Seniors have trouble when it comes to climbing stairs. From knee problems to leg pain, the last thing you want to do is add the risk of a fall into the mix. Stair lifts for seniors help them avoid these problems altogether. All they have to do is sit on the stair lift, press a button, and the lift will take them up on its own. This will protect anyone with low mobility from sustaining injuries on their own staircase.
2. Balance exercises
Exercising becomes more difficult as you age. But there is no need to do heavy weightlifting. To protect yourself from falling, all that is required is light, balance exercises. You want to focus on exercises that help you stretch your muscles, maintaining and keeping them relaxed throughout the day. Yoga and tai chi are examples of great exercise options for older adults that are light and keep your body in shape.
3. Make sure your home is properly lit
It doesn’t matter the age, if your home doesn’t have proper lighting, you are just setting yourself up for a fall. Your home should be well-lit, especially near staircases and bathrooms. Always turn the lights on before you go into any part of your home so you are aware of what is in front of you before you take a step. Motion-sensor lights are a great option to have installed around your home—the light turns on as soon as it senses your presence. You also wouldn’t have to fumble for the switch in the dark.
4. Get a regular eye checkup
Visual impairment is another leading cause of falls. You can’t really maintain proper balance while walking if you can’t clearly see where you are walking. That is why it is important to go for a regular eye checkup and get glasses if needed. As you age, your eyesight tends to get weaker, so it is important that you get a checkup and wear glasses with a prescription that’s right for you.
5. Make items more accessible
Household items that are commonly used by should be placed in areas that are easily accessible. This means, items shouldn’t be placed on high shelves or cabinets, which may require the use of a ladder or step-stool. This just increases the chances of a fall.
According to the CDC, about 20 per cent of older adults, 65 and above, experience a serious injury—be it a head injury or a broken bone—from falling. 95 per cent of hip fracture cases for these adults are related to falls. Which is exactly why older adults need to ensure that they take the proper measures to prevent themselves from falling at home.
While it may be hard to detect exactly which older adults are prone to falls, researchers are using virtual reality to study balance impairment to determine if it can help identify which individuals are more prone to falling. But as an aging adult, even if you feel you aren’t prone to falls, you should take all the measures you can to protect yourself. This is the only way you can avoid serious injuries and even possible death from a fall.
Natasha is a firm believer in health and wellness for all ages. Having been a family caregiver for her grandmother, she knows what it’s like to go through family trials and tribulations. She is currently a blogger who wants to aid others in understanding the tips of healthy and safe aging that she has come across with her own personal experiences as well as through deep research on the topic.