One of the greatest dangers facing seniors is the possibility of falling. According to the CDC, 95 percent of hip fractures in older people are caused by falling, and falls are the most common cause of brain injuries in older people. Fortunately, falls are something that can be prevented. While you can not completely eliminate the chances of falling, you can reduce their likelihood by following these simple tips.
Tip #1: Clear The Path
One of the biggest risks for falling is tripping over something, and a cluttered senior’s home is an accident waiting to happen. If there is a lot of miscellaneous debris, like shoes or laundry left in piles, the easiest thing to do is to pick that up, organize it, and put it away where it no longer represents a hazard. Even something as simple as a loose runner or an area rug can be a problem. This is particularly true for seniors who shuffle more than they walk when getting around the house. Even camouflaged threats should be removed, ensuring the walkways are as clear as possible.
Tip #2: Eyes, Ears, and Light
As we get older, our senses tend to get blurry around the edges. Our hearing is not as sensitive, our vision can fade, and even our sense of touch can become dull. This means that tasks which we could have done without a second thought now require a bit of concentration. For seniors who have hearing loss, or vision loss, it is important to make sure they use any required devices (eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.) in order to navigate an area. This is particularly true at night, when seniors might wake up with a need to go to the bathroom. Always take a moment to put on your glasses, and turn on the light to avoid any accidents.
Tip #3: Get Regular Exercise
Exercise has benefits for everyone, but it is particularly important for seniors. Exercise keeps muscles and bones stimulated and fit, and it helps increase coordination. Most importantly, it makes sure that seniors are less fragile. So regular exercise both helps seniors avoid falling in the first place, and it means they are more likely to weather a fall with as little damage as possible.
Tip #4: Check Medications
As we age, many of us will require medications to help manage various conditions. Unfortunately, one of the more common side effects of many medications is a loss of balance and equilibrium. As such, seniors who are taking medications need to be sure they don’t have any trouble walking while they’re on a certain dosage. Sometimes all it takes is getting used to a medicine before it’s not a problem, but it is important to be cautious whenever introducing a new medication into a senior’s life.
These are, of course, just a few basic ways you can prevent falls among older persons. And, since every individual is unique, it’s important to look at the specific dangers a senior faces in order to minimize their particular chances of falling. For more information on how you can prevent falls among the elderly, all you have to do is contact us at Hampton Roads Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today!