There are many reasons to do your best to prevent falling accidents, as you age. After a fall, you can lose your mobility and independence. Here are 3 ways for seniors to reduce the risk of falling.
- Use Assistive Devices.
Although it's hard to admit that you need a cane or walker to help you keep your balance, one of these implements can mean the difference between falling or not. The Mayo Clinic recommends canes, walkers and other practical items that can assist you in avoiding falls, including:
- Shower and tub bars for you to grasp, while getting in and out and while bathing;
- Non-slip treads for the bottom on the shower, along with a hand-held shower wand and a waterproof, sturdy seat that cannot tip over;
- A toilet with armrests and a raised seat;
- Handrails on both sides of all stairs; and
- Non-slip treads for high-risk slipping areas, such as wooden stairs.
- Talk with Your Doctor.
Let your physician know your concerns about falling. Tell her if some of your medications make you feel groggy, dizzy, tired or foggy-headed. She might be able to prescribe different drugs to treat your condition without those side effects. Ask your doctor if any of your prescriptions increase your risk of a fall accident.
Discuss previous falls and close calls with your doctor to look for a pattern. Work together to develop a strategy for preventing falls. Consider getting a referral to a physical therapist to create a customized exercise regimen to improve your strength, gait, balance, coordination and flexibility to make falls less likely.
- Make Your Home Less Hazardous
Keep your shoes on when indoors for more support and to reduce joint pain. The type of footwear you walk around in matters. High heels can cause you to lose your balance. You can slip and stumble, when wearing flimsy shoes like flip-flops and loose slippers. It can be hard to get a feel for the floor’s surface, when you wear thick-soled shoes. Make sure that your shoes fit well, have non-skid soles and are sturdy.
You can also reduce your risk of falling by taking these steps:
- Keep your home well lit. It is hard to avoid tripping on something, if you cannot see it. With today’s LED light bulbs, turning on the lights will not increase your electric bill the way it did in the past. Use night lights throughout your rooms and hallways. Never go up or down an unlit stairway.
- Have someone relocate electrical cords and phone cords out of your path. Run the cords along the walls and secure them to prevent tripping.
- Move items you regularly use down to lower shelves, so that you can reach them without climbing onto a footstool or step ladder.
- Remove all clutter from the floors and stairs. Keeping your path free of objects is essential for avoiding falls.
- Remove loose rugs or secure them with tacks or slip-proof backing.
- Have all irregular flooring repaired or replaced.
- All spills are slipping hazards. Be sure to clean up spilled food and liquids.
Be sure to talk with an elder law attorney near you to find out how your state’s law differs from the general law of this article.
Mayo Clinic. “Fall prevention: Simple tips to prevent falls.” (accessed November 15, 2018) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/fall-prevention/art-20047358