Falls can become frequent as you grow older; even when it doesn’t result in significant harm, you still need to be careful.
Every year, around 36 million falls among seniors are reported, resulting in over 32,000 fatalities. Scientists have associated various personal risk factors, like balance and gait issues, muscle weakness, and high blood pressure, with falls. Fortunately, you can do a few things to reduce your risks. Below are a few.
1. Get eye and hearing tests
Even the slightest vision or hearing problems can cause a fall. For this reason, aging individuals need to get their eyes, ears, and hearing and vision aids like spectacles examined at least once every two years.
Give yourself time to get used to the new spectacles or contact lenses if you are wearing them for the first time. Always keep them on if you have any vision challenges that could lead to falls. Additionally, consult your doctor immediately if you notice your hearing has decreased since it can also impair your balance. If you have a hearing aid, ensure it fits properly and wear it.
2. Be active
You will likely lose some muscle strength and balance as you age. However, there are muscle-strengthening exercises you can do to enhance your coordination, posture, and balance and minimize your chances of falling.
You can design a workout plan to keep your tendons, joints, and ligaments flexible. Simple exercises such as walking or ascending stairs can help reduce osteoporosis-related bone loss. You can also do hip exercises to improve your core muscles and walking ability.
3. Use an assistive device
You can avoid falls by using walkers and canes correctly. Your doctor may advise you to get either of these. However, ensure you get the ideal size and check if the wheels glide smoothly.
Finding the right assistive device is particularly important if you use them on uneven walkways or in unfamiliar locations.
Speak to your occupational or physical therapists about the best gadgets and how to use them properly. Aside from using walking aids for better support, consider getting some devices to help safely reach for your items without losing your balance or overstretching.
4. Fall-proof your home
Most falls and slips occur near home. So it is best to keep a close eye out for possible risks if you want to make your home safer. Even the simplest modifications around the house can make a big difference.
For instance, the mats and rugs at your stairs’ top and bottom could cause a fall. So it would be best if you got them out of the way. Since you will likely turn off the lights to improve your sleep, consider installing a nightlight to help your vision when you have to wake in the middle of the night. You can also consider motion-activated lighting systems to turn on and off as needed.
Falls are a major concern for older adults. In addition, to the tips mentioned above, consider exploring a few ways to eliminate any potential fall factors to fall-proof your home and make it safer.