Getting older means our bodies don’t heal as fast or as well as it used to. A simple fall can cause serious injuries for a senior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that one out of five falls cause serious injuries among the elderly.
The CDC notes the following as the most common risk factors that attribute to falling in seniors:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Hard time walking or balancing
- Side effects of medications
- Vision problems
- Poor footwear/foot pain
- Home hazards
If you or your loved one have fallen or have one or a multitude of these risk factors, make sure to make any necessary changes to decrease the risk of falling. This can include getting your eyesight checked, fixing hazards around the home such as a loose rug or simply getting better footwear.
Injuries Caused By Falls
Anyone can get injured by falling, especially falling on something hard such as concrete. But, for seniors the injuries can be much worse.
A simple fall can easily break one’s bones, including the wrist, ankle, or arm. Oftentimes one can fracture their hip if they fall as well.
Along with broken bones, a fall can cause head injuries. Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can cause these head injuries to be serious.
Along with physical harm, falling can cause mental harm. If one has already had a bad fall, they may become fearful of falling again, causing them to be less active. If they are less active, bones can weaken, making falling more of a risk.
Although falling can be scary, there are helpful ways you can lessen the risk of falling and injuring yourself.
Here are some ways you can prevent yourself from experiencing a fall:
- Let your doctor know if you are having trouble balancing or have fallen before. Make sure to let them know of any conditions you may have, as this will allow them to assess if those may make you prone to falling.
2. An often place where one falls is the bathroom. With wet floors after the shower, slipping can become prominent. Incorporate grab bars into the bathroom, as well as non slip mats in the tub and outside the tub.
3. If you are finding it hard to walk around the house, use a cane or walker to assist you. You can also install railings or bars in hallways, so you have something to hold onto.
4. Eliminate risk hazards in your home. If you have a loose tile or an uneven step, get those fixed. If you have rugs, make sure they are non-slip ones and they are not easily trippable. Wear non-slip socks around the house as well, or have indoor shoes you wear to help with balance.
5. Stay active. Learn what your limits are in terms of physical activities and do your best to exercise on a regular basis. Talk with your doctor and/or a personal trainer to see what exercises you can do.
6. Go outside as often as possible. If it is too hot to go outside, or if you live where there is limited sunlight, you can eat fatty fish and seafood, mushrooms, egg yolks, or simply take a supplement to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
7. Have a healthy diet. As we get older, eating a balanced, healthy diet is crucial to our health. Here are a few foods and drinks you can incorporate into your daily diet to stay healthy.
- Drink water
- Drink milk to help strengthen your bones.
- Add fiber fiber to your diet. This can include vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
8. Keep your mind active. Strengthen your cognitive health by doing creative activities such as painting, knitting, baking, or cooking. To make it more fun, try doing activities with your friends and family.
Falling can be scary. But if you maintain a healthy diet, talk to your doctor, and make sure your home has amenities to help you avoid falling, you can lower the risk of falling.