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Falling Isn't a Normal Part of the Aging Process

By Donna Stark

Just like twins and snowflakes, no two falls are the same, and that makes it particularly difficult to prevent them when it comes to our senior citizens. Falls among the elderly are one of the most common reasons for injuries and emergency visits, and while some falls end up not being very serious at all, many can lead to significant impairment and a decreased quality of life. Despite these sobering facts, falls are not an inescapable part of aging. Wrinkles? Yes. Gray hair? Maybe. But falls? Well, they are generally quite preventable. You just need to know where to start.

Reducing the Risk of Falling

Falls may be difficult to completely prevent because there are so many factors that contribute to each one, but that doesn't mean you can't take the necessary steps to safeguard your environment and reduce your risk. Here are some great suggestions on how you can keep yourself standing.

  • Physical exercise - If you are looking for another reason to add exercise into your daily routine, here it is! Exercising every day will help counteract any tight, inflexible, and weak muscles you may have. It can also help improve your range of motion, balance, stability, and mobility ... all of which will reduce your risk of falls.
  • Mental exercise - You may have thought that staying mentally active was only to keep your brain sharp enough for crossword puzzles, but did you know that it also reduces your risk of falls? Things such as curbs, pets, steps, inclines, and uneven surfaces can cause you to end up face down on the ground a second after waving goodbye to friends, so use your brain, stay sharp, and always pay attention!
  • Medications - Side effects from prescription medications are the worst and some may even be dangerous, so always ask your doctor if you aren't feeling right after taking them. Be aware that many can cause dizziness, sleepiness, and weakness which can easily affect the way you carry and hold your body.
  • Sight and hearing - How can you expect to walk safely if you can't even see two feet in front of you or hear your pet under your feet? It's important to have your eyes and ears checked regularly, and if you are required to wear glasses or hearing aids, do yourself a favor and make sure you follow the doctor's orders!

Keeping Yourself Safer

It is also vital that you keep your home or workspace clear of hazards. Keep rugs pinned down, remove furniture that isn't functional, add nightlights in the hall, check the sturdiness of stair rails, and install grab bars in the bathroom. It doesn't take much to do a quick check of your space and to implement the suggestions above, but it will make all the difference in the world.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Pooler, Ga.

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