Avoiding Those Falls as We Age
By Donna Stark
"Did you have a nice trip last fall?" It's not the nicest thing to ask after someone has tripped and landed on their face, but I will admit, I have said it to my daughters once or twice in the past (after I knew they were OK). Fortunately, my daughters are like most kids. After a fall, they will usually hop right up, laugh at themselves, and continue on with what they were doing, but for many people, falls can be a lot more serious. And especially so as we age.
As we get older, the impact of a bad fall can obviously be a lot worse than those that occurred when we were simply being goofy teenagers. It takes longer to recover and many of the injuries we sustain, such as shoulder, wrist, hip, and ankle fractures can have a lasting impact on our quality of life and level of independence. Thankfully, many of these falls can be prevented by taking the time to safety-proof our days. Here are some simple suggestions on how to prevent a fall.
Improve Your Strength and Balance
Strengthening your legs and core can reduce your risk of falling and help you maintain a sense of balance. Choose workouts that target these muscles and join activities that will help improve your balance and coordination, such as tai chi, yoga, swimming, and dancing.
Safety-Proof Your Home
In addition to strengthening your body, you should also safety-proof your home by doing the following.
- Keep the walkways clear of anything you can trip over
- Secure loose rugs
- Clean up the clutter
- Make your home brighter with different light bulbs
- Install grab bars next to your shower and tub
- Consider a raised toilet seat
- Add a bench in the shower and tub
- Clean up spills in the kitchen as soon as possible to prevent slipping
- Put the most frequently-used items on lower shelves and cabinets
- Put a bell on your pet's collar so you know where they are at all times
You will also want to stay on top of the side effects that your medications may be causing, so have your doctor or pharmacist review what you are taking. Some common side effects of medications are dizziness and weakness, and that can easily affect your balance.
In addition to your medications, it's also important to have your overall health checked annually. Make those appointments to have a doctor test your vision, hearing, and balance. And if you are experiencing stiff joints, foot problems, or weak muscles, bring that to the attention of your doctor!
Living Life Off the Floor
Falls are certainly no joke after a certain age because many come with serious consequences but there are simple steps that can be taken to prevent them from happening in the first place. So take the time to make sure you and your loved ones are safe and enjoy the rest of your years standing upright!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bellevue, Wash.