By : Sofia Francis
Author’s bio: Sofia Francis is a law school graduate and active law blogger. Sofia plans to pursue a career in personal injury law but for now works with a San Bernardino law firm.
Taking steps to prevent accidents as you grow older, including preparing your home and body can keep you from having a costly fall or injury. As you age you will experience changes in your body and health and these changes, sometimes coupled with prescription medications, can make you more likely to accidently fall or trip.
Falls account for the majority of accidents for people in the 65 and older age range with the majority of injuries impacting the arm, leg or shoulders.
The most serious injuries happen in the kitchen or on stairs and the most common location of falls happen in the bedroom or living room.
How can you prevent falls?
Instead of hoping for the best you can take specific steps to avoid falls. Next time you visit your doctor bring a list of all the medications you’re prescribed with you and any over-the-counter medications you may be taking. Let your doctor know you’re concerned about interactions of side effects that may affect your vision or cause you to feel drowsy.
Ask your doctor about specific fall prevention strategies and make sure you tell them about any falls you’ve had in the past of places where you nearly slipped or worry about.
Remain active as long as you have your doctor’s okay to maintain balance, coordination and flexibility—they can help you reduce your risk of falling and increase strength and improves mobility.
What causes falls?
You need to consider modifications to your surroundings where necessary. All too often worn out carpet, uneven flooring or slippery spots coupled with poor eyesight or lighting can lead to falls.
A whopping third of all falls are caused by the combination of slippery surfaces and shoes that don’t fit right or have poor soles.
If you or someone you know has moved into a nursing home and the home is unsafe because of any of the above conditions it’s important to report them to staff or file an official complaint.
If you’re living at home and have pets or visit family or friends with pets try to be aware of the pets location before you begin to move around. Unfortunately it can be easy for pets to get underfoot and cause you to lose balance or trip you.
Also keep in mind that certain medical conditions can make you more susceptible to falls through a loss of balance. Cataracts or myopia can make it difficult to see objects on the ground or on stairs, Parkinson’s can disrupt your balance and arthritis can cause stiffness in joints and muscles which can affect your movements.
What if you do fall?
Your initial reaction may be to panic, but try to take a few deep breaths and assess your personal state. Find out if you’re hurt and if you’re not find something to grab onto and if possible, something soft to place under your knees.
Keep one knee bent in front of your body with one foot flat on the floor while holding onto something firm to help you stand. Lean forward putting your weight on your hands and foot until you are able to place your second foot on the floor.
If you’re hurt and can call for help without getting up just try to make yourself comfortable until help arrives. Stay warm and keep calm, and if possible move your feet to help circulation.
Finally, keep in mind, just because you’re aging doesn’t make falling inevitable. By staying active and taking precautions in your home it is absolutely possible to prevent falls.