According to the AARP, falls are the leading cause of injury among older Americans. The US Center for Disease Control states that “1 out of 3 people 65 and over has a serious fall every year, and that those 75 and older who fall are more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility.”
Falls often result in hospitalization and injuries that make it difficult to get around or live independently. Many adults who do fall develop a fear of falling again, which limits their mobility and creates a loss of physical fitness.
There are three general risk factors that older adults should be aware of regarding fall prevention:
Behavioral such as inactivity, medication side effects and/or interactions
Biological such as muscle weakness, balance and mobility problems
Environmental such as clutter, poor lighting, frayed carpet, lack of grab bars, etc.
Older adults can reduce their chances of falling and retain their independence by considering the following strategies:
With your doctor’s okay, consider slow, graceful stretches and exercises that focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance. Many can be done from either a sitting or standing position and can get more challenging over time as strength and coordination improve.
Wear Shoes in Your Home.
Forget the slippers or walking in your stocking feet! Wear a pair of sturdy shoes with flexible, non-slip soles to provide extra foot support and traction.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review both prescription and over-the-counter medications for possible adverse interactions and side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.
Yearly Eye Exam.
Have your eyes check by your doctor at least once a year and update your prescription lenses to maximize your vision.
Make your homes safer by reducing clutter, add more lighting and put grab bars in the bathrooms and railings on both sides of stairways.
Now is a good time to take a look at your home and your lifestyle to determine where you may need to make some modifications. The Office of Aging has many good resources to share. And for assistance in your home call your local Seniors Helping Seniors organization at 419-366-4915, 440-935-3848 or go to SeniorCareLorain.com. For an affordable hourly rate we will find compassionate, dependable people to come into your home for mobility assistance, medication reminders, housekeeping, companionship, and much more.