The older a person gets, the greater the risk of falling. Everyone has heard the story of an elderly person slipping in the shower or falling at home and breaking a hip. The fact of the matter is that aging bodies are more fragile and therefore healing may not occur as quickly as it once did.
Seniors may not consider themselves at risk of falls, and as a result they may not use precautions. It is important to remind them that falls can occur and when they do – they can be life changing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to prevent them in the first place. Here are a few tips to help seniors prevent falls.
First, assess the level of risk of falls with the senior. Ask if falls have occurred before. Some people are naturally clumsy, while others may find themselves more apt to fall with age. It’s important to discover if the senior is tripping, repeatedly beginning to fall but able to recover, or fully falling.
Then aim to discover the reason for tripping and falls. Medications may cause dizziness or lightheadedness leading to seniors becoming unstable on their feet. Medications could be acting as sedatives and making seniors less able to navigate their homes or neighborhoods. Poor eyesight and clutter around the home can cause falls as well. Many seniors suffer from osteoarthritis which can cause the knees to buckle and induce a fall.
The consequences of these falls are not always physical. Falling may create mental and emotional fear that it can happen again. This can cause a senior to dread even leaving the home, leading to isolation. Without addressing osteoarthritis, or knees buckling due to weakness and lack of exercise, falls can increase exponentially as the years go on.
This can be addressed with targeted exercises and strengthening devices worn on the legs. Seniors need not think that their knees hurt just because they’re “old.” All it takes is regular exercise, or at the very least getting up to move at least once per day.
The most important thing a senior can do to avoid falls, regardless of the cause, it to exercise regularly. Everything needs maintenance if it is to continue working properly, whether it’s a car or the human body. Walking for 20 minutes per day will do the trick. It will keep blood flowing and lubricate joints. It will keep muscles, ligaments and tendons stretched and well functioning. Everyone is different, and so the techniques used to keep their body “up to date” will be different, but the bottom line is that people need to get moving.