TIPS FOR SENIORS TO AVOID FALLS

According to an article in USA Today, one in three adults over 65 fall each year and half of people over 80 fall each year. These falls typically occur when the person is doing an everyday activity. They may trip over a loose rug, take a misstep on the stairs, or slip on an icy sidewalk.

According to the article, bone fragility, muscle weakness, use of multiple medications and vision problems make seniors more likely to fall. With strength and balance training, 25% to 30% of these falls can be prevented.

Here are some tips to help you avoid falls at any age:

– Exercise regularly. It will increase your strength and coordination and therefore reduce your chance of falling. Tai Chi has been recommended for people of any age to boost strength and improve balance

– Review your medication. Sometimes a bad combination of medications can cause dizziness or a loss of equilibrium. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist to determine what is best for you.

– Check your vision with an eye doctor at least once a year.

– Improve the lighting in your home. Install extra lamps on staircases and in rooms where you spend a good deal of time.

– Throw away old, floppy throw rugs and floor clutter that can be tripped over or use double sided tape to adhere throw rugs to the floor.

– Wear well fitting shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid floppy slippers and going barefoot. Well fitting shoes give your feet the support they need and in turn, will help with your balance and wearing shoes will increase traction, resulting in fewer slips.

For more information on fall prevention:

Fact sheets on fall prevention by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence in California

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