As our loved ones (and we) get older, the risk of falling tends to increase. But many falls can be prevented with small yet effective actions. Taking those actions helps empower and reassure your loved ones. Here are four things you can do to help guard against falls.
Stay Current with Health and Wellness Checkups
Medical history and medications can affect risk factors for falling. Knowing that can help you take the right steps to safeguard your loved one. Regular checkups can include:
- General health, including a review of medications
- Eye exams, including updated eyewear if needed
- Ear and hearing exams, the ear plays an important role in balance
- Assessments of strength and balance. If these need improvement, a physical therapist or fitness program such as The Goodman Group’s FIT Functional Fitness® program can help.
Staying active is a great way to help prevent falls or other injuries. Remember, being active doesn’t mean running a marathon! It can be as simple as walking 10 minutes a day. With a doctor’s approval, other good options for exercise include a favorite sport such as golf, tennis, swimming, bicycling, yoga or tai chi, as well as resistance training.
Besides preventing falls, being physically active helps maintain fitness and strength to keep doing the things you love. Plus, moderate exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, bone density, immune function, and can even contribute to a longer life.
Eliminate Risk Factors in the Home
Take a good look at you or your loved one’s home and rearrange or remove potential hazards such as coffee tables, plant stands, magazine racks, or other small furniture. Have a dedicated place to keep magazines, newspapers, and mail so they don’t end up on the floor. Be sure phone, computer, or other electrical cords are safely tucked away from walking paths.
Adequate lighting can go a long way to making sure accidents don’t happen.
- Add or upgrade lighting, especially in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
- Place flashlights within reach of beds and in other areas of the home in case of power outages.
- Use wireless, stick-on lights in hard-to-light areas such as closets, under sinks, or along stairwells.
- Area and throw rugs should have non-stick backings.
- Replace any worn rugs that are curled at the edges.
- Be sure all bathrooms have non-slip rugs, as well as bath and shower mats.
- The kitchen, too, should have nonslip mats or rugs to avoid slips on water or spilled food.
Add Other Helpful Aids When Needed
There are many more aids that you can add if and when needed, including handrails, grab bars, bath/shower seats, walking canes, and even motorized carts. These conveniences can insure that you and your loved ones have created the kind of safe living environment that supports an active, healthy lifestyle.