Many injuries affecting older adults are due to various home accidents like falls. Typically, falls happen because of several risk factors, such as physical health conditions and safety hazards in your community or home environment. Personal risk factors may include muscle weakness, difficulty walking, poor balance, and more.
Falls may cause broken bones and head injuries. Older adults who often fall may also fear falling, which can cause them to cease daily activities, reduce movement, and have slower reflexes. Fortunately, while falls happen due to risk factors or accidents, you can avoid them.
For example, you can read some helpful news regarding the best senior living communities with safe facilities. However, if you’re still not yet prepared for assisted living, here are the tips to reduce the risk of falls:
Wearing loose-fitting shoes, high heels, or slip-on backless shoes can increase the likelihood of falling. For example, high heels may cause you to trip and shorten your stride.
To prevent any possible accident, opt for rubber-soled and low-heeled shoes. You may also choose lace-up shoes with non-skid soles or flat-soled shoes, which help lessen the chances of slips and falls by reducing the risk of tripping or catching on stair treads or maximizing the surface area of the floor.
It’s common for seniors to feel unsteady and lightheaded when they first stand up. So, take a few minutes to stand up and do it slowly before you start moving around.
Using a walker or cane may give you something to hold onto when moving. It can be essential when taking a stroll outside. To know which device is the most helpful, consider talking to an occupational or physical therapist.
Another fall prevention tip to reduce the risk is to exercise regularly. Mild activities and gentle exercises, such as water workouts, walking, balance exercises, and basic strength exercises, may significantly lessen the risk of falls by improving your balance, coordination, strength, and flexibility.
Exercising can also provide you with more energy. Any exercise can help the body produce endorphins, the neurotransmitters linked to a sense of well-being and pain mitigation. Endorphins promote healthy sleep, fight against stress hormones, and make you feel energetic and lively.
However, while exercising is beneficial, it’s crucial to consult your physician to ensure your body is healthy enough to perform any exercise. Your doctor can also recommend the most suitable exercises perfect for your current fitness level.
As you age, you should change some aspects of your home for better accessibility. Ensure that your house allows you to complete your daily tasks safely and that it promotes fall prevention. For example, secure any loose rugs with slip-resistant backing to avoid tripping over them. You can also put a slip-resistant mat near the bathtub.
When it comes to furniture, arrange it properly to have clear pathways between your walkways. Remove decorations, clutter, and other things from traffic areas.
Once you’re done improving your home’s interior safety, it’s time to make the necessary adjustments outside your property. To get the best results, follow these tips:
If you think your adjustments or home modifications aren’t enough, consider hiring experts to perform a home inspection to cover every corner and eliminate possible hazards.
To maintain a healthy vision, it’s best to have a regular eye checkup and examination every two years. However, at-risk seniors and adults have to make such appointments more often. Older adults must have annual eye examinations. Doing so enables the doctor to update your prescription, especially if you’re suffering from eye conditions that may impair your vision, causing you to trip or fall.
To prevent falls and tripping on several objects that are difficult to see, make sure to keep your house brightly lit. You can place night lights in your hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms. It may also be handy to place a lamp within your reach in case you have to get up late at night. In case of a power outage, store flashlights in easy-to-find or accessible areas.
The bones of older adults are brittle, making them break easily when falls happen. To avoid this, keep your bones healthy and strong by taking supplements and vitamins and increasing calcium intake. All of these may help strengthen your bones in the long run.
Some of the calcium-rich foods include cheese, sardines, and milk. Vitamin D is also vital for strengthening your bones because it absorbs calcium from your food. Typically, vitamin D is found in foods such as salmon, tuna, and eggs. Furthermore, you can supplement your diet with a cod liver oil vitamin, which may help lessen joint pain and improve your overall bone health.
If you’re experiencing side effects from your medications or having a tough time keeping track of your medicines, consult your doctor immediately and get your medications reviewed every time you get a new prescription. You can use a journal or a timed medication dispenser to monitor your medication schedules.
Suppose you intend to take non-prescription medications that may contain sleep aids like painkillers, talk to your doctor first. It’s because these medications may result in dizziness and balance issues. If you’re having sleeping problems, ask for safer alternatives from your doctor.
Another way to prevent life-threatening falls in your home is to install assistive devices. Some of these may include raised toilet seats, grab bars for various areas of your home, and handrails for the stairways. These devices allow older people to perform their daily activities hassle-free and feel independent. Depending on your preferences, you can buy various assistive devices in local or online stores.
As people age, the risk of falling also increases. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something to prevent it. By following the above tips, it’s possible to avoid falling incidents in your house. When done properly, you can enjoy your daily activities without worrying about falling.
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