As you get older, you might experience a sudden change in your health conditions which leads to falls. In fact, falls are a leading source of injury among older adults. On the other hand, falls don’t just happen as you get older. Falls also occur due to one or more factors. These include your physical condition or medical problem.
Personal factors include muscle weakness, poor balance, and difficulty in walking. Falls often results to broken bones especially in arms or hip. Though falls can happen due to accidents or risk factors, there are also preventions to avoid this one.
TIPS TO PREVENT FALLS
Practice a healthy and active lifestyle. Exercise is the simplest way to keep your body active. As elderly, you have to maintain a good balanced diet and stay active for this can help you strengthen your muscles and reduce your risk of falling. Simple exercises such as walking, stretching, and water workouts are good for elderly but for safety, consult your doctor first on which exercise is good for you.
Keep your bone strong and your body healthy. By taking enough foods that are rich in calcium everyday, you can ensure that your bones stay strong. Getting the right amount of vitamin D from sunlight is a big help to keep your bones healthy. However, avoid outdoor activities during 10: 00 am – 3:00 pm for it is the hottest period of the day and is not healthy anymore.
Wear sensible shoes. It is important to choose a footwear that gives you comfort and security. This is also a big factor to falls. Do not wear shoes with slick soles for this make you slip, stumble, and fall. Wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes. This can prevent you from slipping and can also reduce joint pain.
Avoid alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes that can result to falls and other injuries.
Review your medication. Visit your doctor to have a review in your medication. Some of the medications you are taking can also affect your balance and coordination. You may also want to bring the vitamins or supplements you are taking and have a check on it. Some of this may cause unwanted side effects when taken which can increase your possibility of falling.
Keep your home safe and modified. Making your home modified could help you prevent falls for this makes a clear path for walking.
Here are some ways:
- Arrange your furnitures to make a clearer pathway for walking.
- Avoid leaving phone cords and wires on the floor.
- To avoid slipping, you can use non-slip mats especially on stairs and bathrooms.
- Avoid wet floors by immediately cleaning up the mess or spills.
- Make your home well-lit so you can see your surrounding clearly. Add more lights to staircases if it is possible.
What causes elderly falls?
Falls are a common overlooked cause of injury to elderly. Here are some causes of falls to elderly.
- Physical Risk Factors. This includes illnesses or conditions that increase the risk of falling. These are arthritis, diabetes, chronic pain, foot disorders, muscle weakness in the legs, frailty, and low vitamin D.
- Environmental Factors. There are many factors in your environment that causes falls. This include dark stairways, loose wires, or even spilled water on the floor. Factors outside your home that can cause falls include snow or ice, uneven ground, and clutter in the yard. Improper and incorrect use of walking aids like canes or walkers can also cause falls.
- Medications. The side effects of some medicines can affect your balance and make you fall. When you are older, you take more medicines and they may interact with each other in ways that are harmful. Medicines such as sedatives, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antipsychotics and antidepressants can increase your chances of falling. On the other hand, some of the medications you also take can cause dizziness and can also increase your risk of falling.
This information gives a general overview and may not apply to everyone. The best way to take is to consult your doctor to find out if this information is applicable to you.