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Ways Seniors Can Prevent Falls When Aging in Place

September 18, 2019

 

 Seniors

Ways Seniors Can Prevent Falls When Aging in Place

Slips and falls are a serious concern for seniors who are aging in place, especially if they’re not living with a family member or have the services of a caregiver. So, here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of being injured in a fall.

Talk to Your Doctor

According to MedlinePlus, you’re more likely to experience a fall if you have illnesses such as low blood pressure, diabetes, and neuropathy. If your vision has become impaired or you have muscle weakness, you could have problems maintaining your balance. There are also certain medications that make you more prone to experiencing dizziness or falling. If you’re taking medications that keep your blood pressure and blood sugar under control, this would be applicable to you. You should also investigate prescriptions you may be taking for depression or insomnia. If you have any concerns about your medications or symptoms you’ve been experiencing, you can ask your doctor for a fall risk assessment. When conducting this assessment, the doctor will inquire about recent falls, review your medications, check for vision impairment, and look for impaired mobility, among other things.

Keep Physically Active

Increased physical activity in seniors has been shown to reduce the risk of certain diseases and decrease the chance of suffering a fall. You’ll also enjoy social engagement, which has a positive impact on your overall mental health. According to the World Health Organization, the recommended amount of exercise for adults who are 65 and over is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity over the course of the week. This is, of course, assuming you are physically capable of that amount of exercise; otherwise, you should remain as active as you are physically able. To help you with this, you should look into the SilverSneakers program, which is for persons who have the relevant Medicare Advantage coverage. This program consists of indoor and outdoor exercise classes that are geared at helping seniors keep physically active. With over 13,000 centers nationwide and a variety of programs including aerobics, yoga, and pilates, it’s definitely something work checking into.

Remodel Essential Spaces

As you get older, your current home may no longer be safe or accessible. Ideally, your home should be on one floor, but if that’s not the case for you, this article from Senior Safety Advice gives you some tips for making a two-story home safe. If possible, you could move to a ground-floor bedroom and add a bathroom to the room so you’ll no longer need the stairs. If this is not an option, you’ll have to ensure the stairs are wide enough for you to use and that there is a stable handrail. Another option is installing a stairlift so you don’t have to navigate the steps.

There are also other modifications you’ll need to make to your home, such as installing grab bars in the bathtub and replacing your regular toilet with a higher one. If you use a wheelchair or may need one soon, you can expect to add the widening of the entryways to your list.

Declutter and Organize

Even if you follow all the tips given above, your efforts to remain safe from falls can be thwarted if your home isn’t organized. To avoid tripping over clutter or debris, you should clear your space of items you no longer need and keep items you use regularly within reach. Donate and discard what you can do without and put away the things you hold dear. Other trip or fall hazards that you should remove from your home are loose rugs or carpets and high thresholds. It’s also helpful to arrange furniture in a way that creates a clear pathway for you when you walk through the home. Areas should be well-lit at all times, so any bulbs that aren’t bright enough for you to see the area clearly needs to be changed.

Enjoying your golden years in your current home will be easier if you put all the right things in place so make sure your house is safe. All you need to do is put together a game plan for safety, and then take the necessary steps to put it into motion.

Article courtesy of Jim Vogel from www.Elderaction.org

Photo courtesy of Pixabay


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