Preventing falls is one major thing that anyone with aging adults in their life should always be thinking about. To put things in perspective, every 20 minutes, a senior dies from a fall in the U.S., and many older adults suffer injuries that can lead to permanent lifestyle changes.
Here are some of the things you can do to help with fall prevention.
- Create a senior-friendly space. From clutter on the floor to areas obscured by lighting, there are plenty of areas that can easily lead to a fall. On top of keeping things cleaned regularly, a good idea is to look out for potentially dangerous fixtures like loose carpet or rugs. Make sure hallways and bathrooms are well-lit as well.
- Use your mobility aids (if you have some). It’s easy to feel reluctant to use something like a cane or a walker if you’re not used to it, but they are there for a reason. If you have questions on how to use it, make sure that you speak to your medical professional or physical therapist.
- Keep fit. On the other end of things, if your mobility isn’t limited, one of the best things you can do for preventing falls is staying active. In many cases, the natural loss of muscle tone that comes with age leads to less stamina and coordination, which also leads to greater fall risk.
- Consider making some home additions. We mentioned before how it’s important to keep the bathroom well-lit, but there are other things worth looking into as well, like grab bars and lowered bathtubs that are easier to get into.
- Lower anything you can. In the same vein, the act of reaching for something on a high shelf or trying to bring something up a staircase can lead to many falls. Make sure that anything heavy is at the ground level of your home, and can easily be reached without stretching or standing on something.
- Be careful outside the home. A few seconds to look outside for slip hazards like rainwater/black ice, and walking at a slower, flat-footed pace will help keep you safe.
- Watch what you wear. Certain clothes present a greater risk for falling or tripping, like loose and baggy clothes. In general, if it bunches up on the ground, try and wear something else, especially when you are alone. In addition, while wearing only socks is comfy, it can increase slipping risk.
- Stay informed. As a final note, it’s important to say that the best options seniors have for preventing falls may not be the same things today as they were even a few years ago. New technology and practices mean that it’s becoming easier and more convenient to provide added fall protection. Be sure to look at industry resources for the latest news and developments.
The best weapon in your arsenal when it comes to preventing falls as a senior is preparation. Even if you end up having a fall for reasons outside of your control, there are plenty of things you can do to avoid this happening in the first place.