I am a klutzy person. I fall or trip over practically everything. But after a spill, I dust myself off and go on with life. Perhaps a bit more bruised, but fine.
However, seniors who fall are not able to dust themselves off and start over again. Many seniors fall and seriously injure themselves. The injury results in a hospital stay which can lead to other health issues. As morbid as it sounds, a fall for a senior can be fatal. But it can be prevented.
If you are a senior or living with a senior, here are a few tips to avoiding falls and staying healthy.
- Do some home construction. If you reach that point where falling is an issue, it might be time to make some changes in your home. Bathtub a danger zone? A walk in tub/shower (one that has a door so you can step into it without having to step over the lip of a tub) is the best option to avoid any slippery falls. In addition to a walk in shower, a non slip mat in the tub, bathroom or laundry room can avoid other slips due to a wet floor. Also think about adding in a raised toilet seat and small railings in the bathroom and other places needed for support. Most of these can be done quickly and not super expensive. However, if you need more help, a home ramp will be a little pricier but can avoid problems with the stairs.
- Check out the pills. Medications are a big reason that seniors fall. The wrong combination of medications can increase dizziness and balance problems. Because many seniors visit multiple doctors it is easy for pills to get mixed up. To avoid any medication mix ups, take a list of all medications and doses to each doctor’s visits.
- Dress right. Clothing can actually have a big affect on the potential for a fall. Make sure there is no loose clothing, especially with shoes. Floppy slippers or loose shoelaces are falls waiting to happen. All clothing should fit snugly with no dangling parts (like a robe tie). Also check eye glasses to make sure the prescription is correct. Bad eye sight can make one think a stair is at a different height than it really is.
- Be in shape. The best way to combat injuries sustained from a fall is to be in good shape. That way the body will be able to bounce back. Strengthening your muscles can also help you catch yourself from a fall. Small exercises can help you maintain or gain strength and overall health that would help you avoid falls from an injury.
- Don’t forget about the floor. Loose or flapping rugs and other objects on the floor can be dangerous obstacles. Move any items out of the walkway.
- Visit your doctor. Yep, visiting your doctor is a great way to determine overall health. And most health insurance plans, even short term health insurance plans, will cover visits. Go over exercise routines, medication lists and more to ensure you are avoiding falls.