No one ever expects to fall; it takes you by surprise, doesn’t it? Whether a misstep on the stairs or a trip over the dog’s chew toy, we just don’t see it coming. However, we can all take measures to avoid those hidden perils that cause so many seniors to end up in the emergency room.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2.5 million older people are treated each year in emergency departments for fall injuries. Almost a third of them are hospitalized for those injuries, usually with a head injury or hip fracture.
Don’t become one of those statistics. You can create a fall-prevention plan to make life a little safer by taking some steps:
- Talk with your doctor about your health conditions and medications. Knowing exactly how your health affects your strength and stability can help you prepare for moments where a fall is more likely. In addition, your doctor may be able to wean you off medications that cause dizziness or weakness.
- Wear the right shoes. Many shoes will throw you off-balance – especially flip-flops, high-heels, and shoes with slick soles. Be careful about walking about in socks or stockings, too. Wear comfortable, properly-fitted shoes that keep you in good balance.
- Stay on the move! Staying strong and sure-footed will be more likely if you walk and exercise. If you are worried about your ability to do light exercise, talk to your doctor. He may be able to prescribe simple movements that can increase your strength and mobility.
- Make your home safe. High-traffic areas should be free of clutter and small furniture. Make sure throw-rugs are secure. All rooms and especially stairways should be well-lit. Have the things you need in easy proximity so that you don’t strain to reach them. Use nonslip mats in your bath or shower.
- Use assistive devices where needed. Grab bars in the bathroom make falls much less likely. Your stairwell should have bannisters on both sides to make going up and down easier and safer. Use a raised toilet seat with rails. A sturdy shower seat with a nozzle can make bathing more relaxing and more secure, too.
Talk to loved ones about ways to make your home a fall-free zone. In addition to making your environment safer to traverse, you can use a medical alert system with fall detection like our Admiral Protect device so that you’ll always have help at the ready. Keeping yourself safe from falls may require an investment of time and funds, but it’s money well-spent towards keeping you independent at home.
Source: Mayo Clinic