Staying Safe and Off the Ground
This season has become rife for falls, especially for seniors. We aren’t getting out enough because of the cold and snow and ice only exacerbate the risk of falling for everyone. For the elderly, the cycle of falling only leads to an increased risk of falling again:
- you experience a fall;
- you’re afraid to fall again;
- you lesson your activity;
- which decreases muscle strength and balance;
- Which leads to the increased risk of a fall.
Being armed with information and these simple tips to help lower the possibility of a fall will keep you safe and off the ground.
- Make sure you check with your doctor for:
- What medications you’re taking and what the side-effects and interactions of the different drugs are. Often we’re prescribed medications from different doctors and fail to check the interactions—including being light-headed and dizzy.
- Do you have a previous history of falls?
- Could your current health conditions lead to you being at risk for falls?
- Staying Active: keeping physically active will actually improve your risk. Get out and walking 2-3 times a week not only improves cardio-vascular health but strengthens stabilizer muscles in your core and legs to prevent the wobbly feeling while walking.
- Make good shoe choices: Heels, unstable or slick-bottomed footwear (such as flip flops) or walking in socks and poor-fitting slippers always increase our risk for falls. Investing in sensible, well-fitting sturdy shoes is a must.
- Remove home hazards: Make sure there cleared paths in your home safer. Stacks of papers, boxes, cords, shoes littering the floor, loose throw rugs are all hazards.
- Increase lighting: Navigating a dark house is also a hazard. Make sure pathways are well lit with night lights. Motion sensors and powerful, yet inexpensive LED nightlights are available to lower your risk of bumping into things in the dark and ending up on the floor.
- Assistive devices: these may be necessary for peace of mind as well as functions: handrails on stairs in the bathroom can also lower Hand rails for both sides of stairways, nonslip treads for bare-wood steps, a raised toilet seat or one with armrests, grab bars for the shower or tub, a sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down.
Stay safe and protect yourself!