According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over five and a half million seniors reported that they fell at least once in the previous three months. Falls can be a serious threat to the elderly. Older bones break more easily and mend more slowly. Many seniors that hurt themselves when they fall have injuries serious enough that they need to be hospitalized.
There are a number of factors that can up your risk for having a fall. Once you know these risk factors, you’ll be much more likely to avoid injuries that can result from falls. Here’s a list to help you out:
- One third of all falls involve trip hazards in the home. Make sure you don’t leave objects lying around on the floor. Make sure there is adequate lighting in your home. Grab bars can be a great help in the right locations.
- Osteoporosis can make your bones more susceptible to fractures. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
- Lack of physical activity results in poor muscle tone, decreased strength, and less flexibility. Make sure you regularly participate in weight-bearing exercises.
- Poor vision can increase your risk for falling. Cataracts and glaucoma can affect your depth perception. Make sure you get regular check-ups by an ophthalmologist. If you have glasses, clean them regularly.
- Many medications can affect your balance. Medications can also make you less alert and cause a drop in blood pressure. Monitor the effects your medication has on you and make sure you are getting the lowest, effective dose for your condition.
Other tips for reducing the chances of a fall include installing proper handrails on stairs and steps. Make sure that walkways are clear of ice and snow. Use sturdy, firm couches and chairs in the living room, preferably with arm rests. In the bathroom, make sure that there is a non-skid rubber mat in the tub or shower. If you need to use a step stool in the kitchen to reach items, make sure it is sturdy with a wide base for standing on.
Taking some of these simple measures is well worth the effort. Avoid the injuries caused by falls by taking the time to reduce the risks you are exposed to each day. The Centers for Disease Control believes that seniors can live better, longer, and more independently when they reduce their chances of falling.