The idea of falling can be scary for seniors. However, you should know that there are plenty of things you can do to minimize your risk of falling and still stay active. Learn about fall prevention for seniors, and you’ll be able to keep enjoying your life to the fullest.
Fall Prevention for Seniors
Seniors know that falls are serious business. But has anyone talked to you about how you can avoid them? Believe it or not, there are lots of proven strategies that can lower or even eliminate your risk of falling.
Talk to Your Doctor About Fall Risk
Did you know that one in four seniors experience a fall every year, but less than half of those seniors talk about it with their doctor? Don’t let being embarrassed about a fall stop you from getting the help you need. Some seniors fear that talking to a doctor about their fall risk will result in negative consequences, such as their doctor telling them to limit their movement. However, seniors that discuss falls with their doctors actually end up finding more freedom to move, not less. That’s because your doctor is in the best position to discuss the medical fall risk factors you may be contending with:
- Dizziness or balance issues caused by medication
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiencies
- Physical pain when moving
- Age-related vision problems
These issues and others can exacerbate your fall risk. Your doctor has likely worked with many seniors to help mitigate fall risk in the past and will be able to give you excellent advice that is tailored to your situation. Talk to them first!
Make Your Home Risk-Free
Once you’ve talked to your doctor and gotten a handle on your medical fall risk factors, it’s time to take a look around your home. Are there pieces of furniture that are low to the ground and easy to trip over? Are there areas that could use more light for safety’s sake? Do you have grab bars by the toilet, in the tub, and in other areas where a slip is likely? Use a guide for home fall prevention to evaluate the safety of your living area, and be ready to make some changes if needed. You can also talk to a medical professional like a physical therapist for more advice.
Get Stronger and Stand Up Longer
If you’re working on lowering your fall risk, it’s also a good idea to work on your physical fitness. Being in good physical health is an excellent way to avoid falls, and it also lowers the risk that a fall will result in a serious injury. Be sure you’re getting some kind of movement in every day to keep your body in good condition. If your doctor has expressed concerns about balance or strength, you can find types of exercise that help with those issues, like yoga or tai chi. Anything that makes you stronger will lower your fall risk. It will also provide other health benefits, like lowered blood pressure and more energy. It’s a win-win for you and your body.
Write Down and Regularly Update Your Mobility Plan
Now that you have some ideas on how to prevent falls, it’s a good idea to make a mobility plan. A mobility plan is basically what it sounds like: it’s a written document that details the ways you’ll keep yourself, your home, and your neighborhood risk-free. Having it all written in one place is a great way to keep yourself accountable, and also make sure you don’t miss any details. You can find a sample mobility plan to work with, or you can make one on your own. Be sure to review this plan with your doctor and loved ones at least once a year, and update it as needed.
If you take fall prevention for seniors seriously, you’ll be prepared for whatever mobility challenges life throws your way. Embrace fall prevention now, and get ready to keep enjoying your independence for years to come.
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