Stand up to falls: tips to prevent senior slips
The CDC reports that each year one-third of adults 65 and older fall, putting them at risk for fractures, other injuries and even death. Follow these tips to lessen the likelihood of falling:
Find your footing: Often the fear of falling leads older adults to limit activity, but this can hasten a catastrophic tumble. Instead, commit to an exercise program that improves strength, balance and coordination, such as tai chi.
See the eye doctor: Adults over 65 should get vision checked annually. Consider wearing a separate pair of glasses with distance vision while on the move, instead of trying to look through or over bifocals.
Review your medicines: Ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects that increase fall risk, such as dizziness or drowsiness, and alternatives.
Take your vitamins: Ask a provider about Vitamin D and calcium to strengthen bones, discussing risks and benefits.
Make your home fall-proof: Remove tripping hazards; amp up lighting; and toss out house slippers in favor of sensible, treaded shoes. Depending upon risk, an occupational therapist can make a house call to suggest further changes.
Want to learn more about prevention and rehab for falls? Read: Serious falls put seniors at risk.
Hire help for home modifications: Seek out a highly rated contractor, preferably with a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist designation, to make necessary changes, such as installing grab bars in the shower, higher toilet seats or a railing on both sides of stairs.
Consider a medical alert system: For seniors aging in place, especially those at higher fall risk, this could prove to be a lifeline, but shop around, test customer service before making any commitment, and try to avoid multi-year contracts.