Updated: Feb 19
Of all the threats to health and wellbeing seniors face, perhaps the most dangerous (and overlooked) one is falling. Though people are somewhat aware that older adults are at a higher risk for falls than the rest of the population, many underestimate just how serious a fall can be. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one in five falls can cause a serious injury, like a traumatic brain injury or a hip fracture, and three million seniors end up in emergency rooms.
Though these numbers create a scary picture, falls aren’t always this detrimental and they are significantly preventable. Here are some easy measures seniors can take to keep themselves protected:
Treat Your Feet
Wearing the proper footwear can seem obvious, but it can be a tremendous aid in fall prevention. Seniors should look for shoes that are not only comfortable, but also offer a fair amount of traction to help reduce the chance of a slip.
Manage Your Home
Although rugs do allow guests or visitors to wipe off any moisture tracked in from the outdoors, which can help prevent a fall, they can actually be hazardous if not properly smoothed down. Add a non-slip rug pad underneath all rugs in the home, and eliminate any bumps, or lifted edges. Clear cluttered walkways of extension cords and other tripping hazards. It’s easy to put off home repairs due to financial and time restraints, but a fall injury can be far more costly. Take care of any flooring or carpet issues before an accident occurs.
Watch Your Step
In the summertime, there aren’t as many fall risks such as snow and ice, or piles of leaves, however seniors should still mind their steps outside. Beware of tripping hazards like discarded water hoses or sprinklers left in the backyard, charcoal grill lids set aside at a family barbecues, or even the curb of a sidewalk while playing outside with grandchildren. These everyday scenarios can be the setting of a fall, if seniors are not careful.
Build Your Strength
No one plans to fall, but sometimes accidents happen that are out of our control. That said, it’s a great idea for seniors to build up their strength and balance as much as they can. Many of these exercises are extremely effective and can be done right at home.
These tips can not only help seniors prevent serious falls, but can also give them the confidence to age actively, without being held back by fear of injury.