As we age, our physical and mental health conditions change and evolve. These changes can impact our senses or result in medical issues, all of which may impair our balance and lead to falls. According to the CDC, each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. The older we are, the more damaging these falls can be and they can even lead to serious long-term issues. Taking the time now to look into steps you can take to prevent or protect yourself from falls could save you pain and strife later.
Talk to Your Doctor
Speak to your doctor about any concerns you have, any falls you have experienced or any questions about how to stay safe from falls. Medical professionals are the best resource for guidance and safety related to your health and can also provide important resources and referrals if needed. Visiting your doctor for routine vision, hearing and overall health checkups is another important step in preventing falls.
No matter what age you are, being active regularly is one of the best ways to maintain physical and mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s walking, an exercise program or even doing chores around the house, finding physical activity that your doctor approves will be beneficial to increase flexibility, strength and balance. If your doctor approves, exercises like yoga and pilates are particularly helpful in working on your balance.
Turn On the Lights
A simple step like turning on the lights or adding lights to stairs, hallways and other frequently traveled spaces both inside and outside your home can help create visibility and reduce the chance of falls.
Wear the right shoes, hold onto railings, stay home when the weather is wet or icy. All of these precautions can increase your overall safety. If you struggle with balance or have fallen in the past, talk to your doctor about the benefits of an assistive device like a cane or walker. These can make your mobility safer without having to sacrifice being active.
Create a Safe Space
Add railings to stairs or non-slip mats anywhere in your home that may have a wet floor like kitchens or bathrooms. Think about removing any objects on the floor that could trip you up or even reorienting furniture to ensure your frequently traveled paths are clear.
These are just a few of the steps you can take to help prevent falls. The National Council on Aging offers a free Falls CheckUp that you can take online to assess your risk for falls and access additional resources and tips to help you. https://ncoa.org/age-well-planner/assessment/falls-free-checkup