Every year we hear stories of seniors falling, ending up in hospitals and never fully recovering. Unfortunately, these falls often result in death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths for seniors age 65 and older. Every year, approximately 35% to 40% of seniors over 65 years of age fall at least one time. The following are five ways to help reduce the risk of you or a loved one from falling:
1. Keep Indoor Pathways Safe- Remove throw rugs or use double sided tape to prevent rugs from becoming loose. Keep telephone and electrical cords out of walkways as well as items such as shoes, blankets and books. Move furniture out of walkways to ensure the path is clear. Always keep stairways free from clutter.
2. Review Medications- Visit with your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you or a loved one is taking. Some prescriptions and over the counter drugs can cause one to become drowsy, dizzy or unsteady. In addition, make sure to get your vision checked once a year to reduce the risk of falling due to poor vision.
3. Exercise Regularly- It is important to improve your muscle flexibility and strength to reduce the risk of falling. Balance and coordination are also important to help prevent falling, and these can be accomplished through regular exercise.
4. Add Safety Features to Bathroom and Bedroom- Install mats or suction cups in the bathtub. Place grab bars near the toilet, shower, and tub area, as well as bench or a stool in the shower. Consider using an elevated toilet seat to help reduce the risk of falling. In the bedroom, keep a lamp or light switch that can be easily reached without getting out of bed. Use night lights in the bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
5. Improve Outdoor Walkways- Paint the edges of outdoor steps, especially steps that are narrow or are higher or lower than other steps. Paint outside stairs with a mixture of sand and paint to help with traction. Keep walkways well lit and clear from debris, snow and ice.
In addition to keeping the home safe from hazards, always try to maintain good health and exercise habits. It is important to wear rubber soled shoes that fully support your feet. Furthermore, limit the consumption of alcohol, and use walking devices such as a cane or a walker if extra support is needed. By reducing the risk of falling, one is increasing the chances of living a happy and safe life.
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Torey Farnsworth has over 12 years of experience working with seniors. Ms. Farnsworth's vast expertise encompasses a wide variety of senior issues ranging from adult care to elder law. Her legal experience includes long term care planning, estate planning, ALTCS eligibility and Medicaid planning. Ms. Farnsworth is also a certified caregiver with the State of Arizona as well as a Certified Senior Advisor. Ms. Farnsworth has spent her career in senior care as her family owns and operates assisted living homes.
Ms. Farnsworth owns and operates a senior care placement business in Arizona called Horizon Senior Care Referral. Her placement services are free to seniors and their families. For information on placement services in Arizona, visit http://www.adultcarecentral.com