Ways to Help Seniors Avoid Falls
Falls are common, but most are avoidable with safety measures like these.
Falls are the leading cause of injury among people 65 and older. Head injuries and hip fractures can take a serious toll on their health, resulting in hospitalizations, lengthy rehab periods, and even death.
Falls may be common, but most falls are avoidable. Here are some simple steps that can keep you safer:
Move More, Sit Less
The stronger your muscles, the less likely you are to fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you’re generally fit and don’t have limiting health conditions, it’s important to aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, five days a week). If chronic conditions prevent this much activity, it’s important to be as physically active as your health allows. The CDC website provides comprehensive, easy-to-follow strategies for getting optimum activity. Find them at https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/older_adults/index.htm.
Declutter Your Floors
Tote bags, scatter rugs, shoes, and stacks of mail can turn a simple walk from the living room to the kitchen into a perilous obstacle course. Think about mounting hooks on your walls that will let you hang storage bags. Say goodbye to the rugs, and make a point of keeping mail and other papers on tables or shelves.
About Those Eyeglasses
Avoid wearing reading glasses, bifocals, or progressive lenses when you take the stairs or walk outside. They affect your depth perception. Single-focus lenses are safer for walking or stair-climbing.
Wear Secure Footwear
Wear shoes or slippers with a secure back and a good tread. Flip-flops and slide-on sandals may feel comfortable, but they set you up for falls.
If stairs in your home don’t have handrails, have them installed. Then be sure to use them. If you’re carrying a few objects up or down a set of stairs, make more than one trip so you can always keep one hand on the railing or just above it.
Get Out of Bed Slowly but Surely
It’s easy to tangle your feet in sheets and blankets as you get out of bed. Make sure both feet are securely on the floor before you stand up.