Falling is a serious risk and concern for many seniors. A bad fall can result in a long-lasting injury, potentially forcing a hospital stay or a permanent move to a care facility. As you age, it’s important to recognize the changes that you need to make in your behavior and around your home to reduce your risk. To stay safe and retain your good health, follow our helpful tips to prevent falls.
Tips to Prevent Falls
Clear Clutter and Obstructions
Bumping into a table or couch can cause unsteadiness and potentially lead to a fall. If your home is difficult to navigate, your chances of falling are higher. Regularly removing clutter from the paths you use the most will help keep walkways clear. However, don’t just settle for making a clear path through the clutter; keeping wide margins around your usual walking paths will protect you from harm if you should fall. Paring down your furniture collection can also help.
Install Safety Devices Around Your Home
Investing in safety devices around the home can help you feel stable and secure. Placing small night-lights around your home can help you see during the night without fumbling around for a light switch as you walk into a dark room or hallway. Installing a second handrail in your stairway can help you go up and down the stairs without feeling worried about a fall. Non-stick mats on slippery floors, such as hardwood or tile, can help you avoid slipping. Your bathroom can also benefit from some extra features, including rails to help you get in and out of the tub and a raised toilet seat.
Engage in light exercise to build your stamina, strengthen your muscles, and increase your flexibility and mobility. Short walks in your neighborhood and gentle strength training at home can keep you in good shape and help you maintain your balance. In addition, consider taking an exercise class for seniors at your retirement community, local senior center, or gym. Of all our tips to prevent falls, this may be the most important, because it can benefit your health in a variety of other ways as well.
Talk to Your Doctor
Your health has a direct impact on your stability and balance. If you’re currently taking any medications, ask your doctor specifically about side effects related to balance. Some medications can also cause issues with stability when taken together. If you’re currently experiencing unexplained dizziness, you should talk to your doctor about your concerns. Chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, can cause symptoms that increase your chances of falling.
As we age, we become more susceptible to dehydration due to a number of reasons: (1) we cannot conserve water as well as we once did, (2) our bodies may not effectively respond to changes in temperature, and (3) our sense of thirst may dwindle. Unfortunately, dehydration causes numerous symptoms that can cause you to fall. For example, it can lower your blood pressure. It can also induce confusion and a loss of balance. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day. This is especially important if you take diuretics (water pills) or have diabetes, as both can increase the production of urine.
Wear Good Shoes
Your choice in footwear can make a difference to your stability. Make sure your shoes fit your feet correctly; a shoe salesperson can typically help you find shoes that fit just right. Look for shoes that are flat and supportive. Choosing shoes with nonskid soles can help you avoid falls on uneven surfaces and ice. Replace your old shoes as soon as the soles begin to wear out.
Use Assistance If Needed
Walkers and canes are good for helping you get around your home and your community. However, it’s important to use a walking aid that is customized for your height. You should also quickly replace any worn parts, such as the rubber tip of a cane.
A minor trip, slip, or fall can prove disastrous in your sunset years. To ensure that you stay on your feet for years to come, we hope that you will make use of our tips to prevent falls.
Looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville. Our warm and inviting community makes it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. To learn more about our amenities and services, please give us a call at 901-854-6590 or contact us online.