The following article is a guest post submitted by author Kent Elliot from AtHomeAging.info.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury in senior adults, and statistics show that one in four Americans fall each year. But falling is preventable and there are several things you can do to safely age in place and reduce the risk of falls. Let’s discuss a few of these changes that you can start making today.
There are several changes to your home you can make in order to reduce the likelihood of falling. Begin by removing tripping hazards such as cords, slippery rugs, or loose carpet. It’s also important to either wear shoes or non-slip socks while walking in your home, as regular socks can be slippery. You can also install grab bars in areas like the bathtub and stairs to offer extra stability and prevent injury. Lighting is another important factor to consider. Make sure each room is brightly lit, and the switch is easily accessible. By making small changes in these areas of your home, you can feel more confident in walking around without risk.
Removing clutter enables you to move around in your home with fewer tripping hazards. Having piles of books and magazines, antiques, and out-of-place rugs cause more careful maneuvering that leads to greater risk of falling. The prospect of decluttering can be overwhelming, but Becoming Minimalist has several easy suggestions to help you get started. You can give away just one item a day, or you can try a challenge like 12-12-12 by choosing 12 items to donate, 12 items to trash, and 12 items to keep in order to reduce the amount of clutter in your home. If you have belongings you can’t bear to part with but need to remove, it might be time to consider a storage unit. You can find climate-controlled options in various price ranges, which means you won’t be spending a fortune to protect your treasured possessions. Depending on how much you need to move, you may want to consider hiring a moving
company to help with the heavy lifting instead of relying on family. Take care in choosing a moving company by researching and comparing online reviews to ensure you get the right company and the right price.
It may seem tempting to slow down as you get older, feeling that the best way to prevent risk is to reduce activity, but this is counterproductive. Incorporating physical activity will strengthen your body to help build muscle and increase balance. Healthline offers some great tips for seniors to begin a new exercise regimen. You can engage in low-impact exercises like walking, tai chi and strength training workouts with 1-2-pound dumbbells. Consider utilizing technology to exercise from home. With options like exercise videos, online classes, YouTube options or even Wii games from your grandkids’ console, you can easily find ways to get moving from the comfort of your living room.
Prevent Falls Outdoors
Strengthening your body through exercise will help prevent falls in general, but when you’re outside, take extra precautions to ensure stability. Choose proper footwear for the terrain and weather, opting for well-fitting, supportive sneakers instead of sandals or slippers. Slow down and pay attention to cracked, uneven surfaces or change in slope. Also, avoid carrying too many items when going up and down stairs or opening and closing doors. Lastly, be sure to notice and steer clear of walkways that may be coated with ice in the winter. With careful attention, you can safely navigate the outdoors without injury.
Falling causes more damage than just physical injury. In addition to broken bones, it can lead to isolation and depression. Thankfully, falls can be preventable. By carefully preparing your home, reducing clutter, strengthening your body, and making some lifestyle changes, you can have the confidence to walk around without injury.