According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one injury among older adults is falling. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as poor eyesight, poor strength and balance, and other medical conditions. While falls can sometimes only cause minor injuries like cuts and bruises, they can also lead to more serious ones like head trauma and fractures, which can even be fatal under the worst circumstances. As such, it’s important to protect yourself against falls in order to prolong your independence and ensure a high quality of life. From providing a safer living environment to keeping yourself in good physical health, here are some ways you can work on preventing falls.
Create a Safe and Secure Living Space
Considering that most falls take place at home, it’s good to start out by creating a more safe and secure living environment. While we may automatically assume that our home may be the safest place in the world, it’s also filled with hazards at every corner. If possible, try installing non-slip surfaces throughout the house and placing non-slip mats for that added grip. Since trips and falls mainly occur due to the flooring, ensure that the floor is free of clutter at all times. Make sure all the electrical cords and other objects are neatly organized in one corner and not thrown around.
For more major home modifications, you may even consider installing grab bars in certain areas around the house, specifically the bathroom, stairs, and walkways. As these areas are prone to accidents occurring, grab bars or handrails provide more support and stability.
Go for Comfortable and Appropriate Footwear
As we grow older, it becomes increasingly challenging for us to move around as much. As such, it’s recommended to put practicality before style and go for footwear that’s not only comfortable but also provides ample support. Even though many older adults tend to gravitate towards a favorite shoe, this causes the shoe to become worn out and even ill-fitted as time goes on. In this case, it’s crucial to throw out the shoe as ill-fitting footwear can pose serious hazards. Instead, turn to shoes that feature non-slip soles and a low heel at the back to support the arch.
Lead an Active Lifestyle
Aside from keeping us healthy and fending off illnesses and diseases, taking part in exercises help us to build up and maintain strong bones and muscles, which are crucial in preventing us from getting fractures in case of slips and falls. In fact, medical and fitness professionals have stressed the importance of exercise as being the first line of defense against falls. This is no doubt true as when you have good balance, coordination, and flexibility, you’re less likely to suffer from serious injuries. Therefore, work on improving your strength and stamina in order to increase your range of motion.
Go for an Eye Test Regularly
Despite being in good health, we recommend going for regular eye exams in order to maintain good eyesight and ensure that you’re able to see clearly. As we grow older, we may suffer from loss of vision or even eye diseases that prevent us from seeing our surroundings well, which increases the likelihood of falls. As such, through regular eye tests, doctors are able to screen for any conditions. If you do suffer from poor eyesight, they’re able to make decisions regarding your eye health and suggest prescription contacts or glasses if necessary.