Falls are common among the elderly population. Statistics cited on the CDC claim that every year, at least a quarter of all adults over 64 will experience a fall, and 3 million seniors visit emergency departments each year after suffering a fall. And once someone falls, his chances of falling again are doubled.
Many seniors are afraid of falling – the very thought is terrifying to them. Although there is no way to prevent falls, you can be proactive and take certain measures to reduce your fall risk. Here are a few ideas of what you can do to ensure that you’ve done your best to avoid falls.
Take Vitamin D & Calcium Supplements
According to a recent study, Vitamin D alone may not be effective in preventing fractures, but taking both Vitamin D and Calcium every day does reduce the risk of fracturing a bone. Combined treatment with both Vitamin D and Calcium can lessen the risk of fracture by more than 15%. With this in mind, if you’re interested in avoiding fractures, it is very important to take both Calcium and vitamin D!
Use the Right Walking Aid
There are many types of walking aids: Medical walkers, rollators, wheelchairs, quad canes, and more. If you have trouble holding yourself steady while walking, be sure to use a walking aid. However, it’s best not to use just any walking aid: speak to a professional about which mobility aid is best for your needs. This will ensure that the aid will only improve your mobility experience.
Keep Rooms Clean
Make sure there are no tripping hazards in sight! Keep your home as clutter-free as possible. Even rugs and coffee tables can sometimes turn into tripping hazards – use your common sense to determine what is safe to leave, and what may cause a fall fiasco. Clear away any small toys or other little objects from the floor before any older person walks through the room.
Stay Inside in Bad Weather
No one should be outside in frigid temperatures or torrential downpours, but this is especially true for seniors. Bad weather can cause people to slip – icy ground is very hard to walk on, and wet sidewalks and snow-covered walkways pose challenges, as well. Venturing outside during a storm is definitely not recommended, since visibility is poor and distractions are prevalent. Aside from the extreme fall risk involved, going out in such weather often results in the person becoming sick.
Install Grab Bars
If the person needs to use any sort of walking aid, putting up grab bars would probably be helpful. Grab bars are actually extremely helpful for anyone who finds themselves losing their balance or feels like they’re going to lose their balance while walking. There are different types of grab bars – some can be screwed into the wall, and some work by means of suction. The most sturdy option of grab bars is ones that can be screwed into the wall. We recommend these chrome bars, which are very durable and have a textured grip.
Install Adequate Lighting
Many older people have a hard time seeing in the dark. To prevent falls from happening due to limited visibility, make sure there is always adequate lighting. For instance, place a nightlight right near the senior’s bed so that he can see in case he needs to get up in the middle of the night.
Exercise Every Day
Exercise is always important, but especially so for seniors. If a senior doesn’t exercise, his muscles will inevitably get weaker. The National Osteoporosis Foundation has a list of recommended exercises, many of which, when done often enough, will strengthen your muscles and reduce your risk of falling. These exercises include ones which improve balance, and ones that strengthen the hips (hip fractures are the most common kind of fractures among seniors).
Nuts, cabbage, broccoli, and dairy foods are all excellent sources of Calcium. Table salt is not good for bone health, since it causes the body to lose Calcium. Egg yolks and liver contain Vitamin D. Try to eat foods that are good for you.
There is no way to prevent fractures and falls entirely, but there are so many ways to prevent them from being as big of a risk. Do your best, and once you’ve done all you can, be sure to take the time to enjoy life!