As we age it is important to be realistic and look at what is the best way to prevent falls. Many debilitating injuries in older people are caused by a simple fall in the home. Recently my neighbor had one of those falls and crushed vertebra in her back and fractured her coccyx. She is in her eighties and was very active but this injury has left her in severe pain and needing care. Thankfully, she has always taken care of her health and fitness so she is lucky enough to be recovering from those injuries. For many people, these injuries would have changed their lives forever. Many would not be able to live alone anymore.
As we age we need to take better care of ourselves and eliminate our risk of falling if possible. Most falls occur at home and we need to take a look at our homes and eliminate as many of the risk factors as we can. No one wants to spend their latter years in pain or unable to manage at home so below is a list of some of the hazards that can cause falls at home.
1 Home Safety Hazards
- Mats or rugs on the floor can be tripping hazards
- Extension cords on the floor can cause falls
- Internal steps need to be well lit as our eyesight fails
- Slippery tiles in the bathroom
- Poor lighting when you need to go to the toilet through the night. A commode in the bedroom is better than a fall in the bathroom.
- Ill fitting shoes and slippers can cause falls
- Uneven paths in the garden
- No handrails on steps outside.
It is a good idea to get on top of any hazards in your home early and remove or repair them. Even younger people can be seriously injured by a fall. As we age our reflexes may not be good enough for us to stop ourselves from falling. Aging problems are often the cause of falls and we need to take steps to maintain our health. This means regular checkups by our doctor and visits to your optometrist to maintain your eye health.
It is also important to maintain a healthy weight and getting the right diet from your dietician can help with this. Also taking care of your feet with regular visits to a Podiatrist. If you have any problems with your joints a Physiotherapist can be a Godsend. They can give you exercises to strengthen your muscles that support your joints
Let’s take a look at the what health problems we may encounter that will put us at-risk of falling.
2 Balance or Sensory Problems
- Loss of sensation
- Poor eyesight
- Problems with balance
- muscle weakness
- Poor vision
- Low blood pressure
- High blood pressure
- Parkinson’s Disease
Prevention Starts Early
The best time to prevent falls as we age is to start early. It is too late after the damage is done. Staying as active and healthy as you can is the best way to stay safe.
Tips on Preventing Falls
- Plenty of fluid. Dehydration can cause you to lose strength and stamina and you can rehydrate yourself by drinking more fluids. However, if you have chronic dehydration due to reduced fluid intake it can lead to more serious problems such as kidney stones, constipation, and muscle damage.
- Eat a healthy and nutritious diet. This is not as hard as you may think. Eat plenty of foods derived from plants and limit processed foods in your diet. This means eating the right amount of all the food groups, fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and protein.
- As we age we need to get regular exercise to maintain muscle strength and stop our joints from stiffening. Water aerobics, TaiChi, and walking will help maintain your fitness. It is important when you are walking to wear the right shoes. They need to be firm fitting to avoid blisters, flat soles, low and wide heel and rubber soles for grip. At home, you should wear slippers that are a good fit. It is not advisable to walk in socks at home as you will be more likely to slip.
- Clothes that are too long can be a tripping hazard.
- Keep the floor clean and clear. If you spill anything wipe it up straight away.
- If you have problems with your mobility be sure to use your walking aid. The bathroom is hazardous and grab rails will help you stay safe.
- Good lighting is important. As we age our eyes are not as good as they used to be and having good lighting will keep you safe.
Exercises to Keep You Safe
Exercise has many benefits as you know. Get your heart and lungs working to maintain your cardiovascular system is something everyone needs to do regardless of their age. If you are planning on doing this kind of exercise you need to see your doctor before you start.
Exercises to improve your balance are gentle but extremely effective. The video below is just one of the many videos online
If you would like to watch some other videos Click Here
Tips for Living a Healthy Life
The best tip of all is start early and never stop. Modern medicine and education have given us the tools to live a long healthy life. Of course, there are no guarantees and thing can go wrong even when you have looked after your health and fitness, however, these are the things we can’t do anything about. If you have been lucky enough to get to your senior years without any real health problems then now is the time to make sure you maintain your good luck.
A lifetime of eating a healthy well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight will protect you against many illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. If you continue to exercise as you age you can eliminate many of the problems that can cause falls. A nasty fall can change your life so take care and watch you step.
Click Here for more exercises to keep you safe.
If you have any comments or questions about this post I would love to hear them so please leave a message in the box below and have a great retirement. Really, retirement is not a dirty word.