Falls are the Leading Cause of Injuries Among Seniors
According to the National Council on Aging, every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Twenty-five percent of older American adults will experience a fall this year, and falls are the leading cause of injuries among seniors.
There are many reasons why older adults are among the most likely to be injured by slipping and falling at home. Poor vision, weaker bones, and medications are all contributors, and slippery floors, rugs, and the use of canes or walkers can also increase your chances of falling.
Lowering Your Risk for Falls
Fortunately, there are several preventative measures you can take to lower your risk of being injuring by slipping and falling:
- Eliminate Trip Hazards
One of the most common reasons older adults fall is because they slip or trip over a common household item. Slippery floors, rugs, and cords across the floor can all cause falls, especially if you rely on an assistive device, such as a walker.
To avoid painful falls, wear low-healed, non-skid shoes in the house. Avoid walking around the house in socks unless they are non-skid socks with treads that grip the floor. Make sure all trip hazards—such as phone cords, footstools, and children’s toys—are pushed out of the way. Also be sure to replace worn walker, cane, and crutch tips to avoid slipping on floors, and arrange furniture in a way that prevents tripping.
- Check Your Vision
Poor vision combined with weaker muscles and bones can make it easier to trip over items at home, so it’s important to visit your eye doctor at least once a year to have your eyesight checked. Having your pharmacist review your medications also ensures that everything is working properly.
Also, leaving a light on in the bedroom and bathroom can help you see better and avoid tripping if you need to get up in the middle of the night, and holding onto handrails when climbing up or down the stairs can help prevent tripping.
- Start Exercising
Exercise can help keep your body in top shape by strengthening your muscles and improving your balance. Be sure to consult your doctor first to ensure you’re healthy enough for physical activity, and ask about the types of exercise that would benefit you the most.
One exercise that can help your balance is as easy as sitting still. Whenever you’ve been sitting down for a while, sit on the edge of the bed, sofa, or chair for a few seconds before you stand up. Then stand up slowly, avoiding tilting your head back. This helps you remain balanced as you stand, which also helps prevent falling.
Although falls are one of the most common injuries among older Americans, there are several preventative measures you can take to avoid them. Eliminating trip hazards in your home, getting regular check-ups with your doctor, and starting an exercise regimen can all help you stay on your feet.
If you are a loved one is at risk of falling, you may want to consider getting a home care aide. Wartime veterans and surviving spouses of veterans may qualify for a government pension with to help with home care costs. To learn more, contact Veterans Home Care about the VetAssist Program, call toll free: 888-314-6075.