As people age, their risk for falling increases exponentially. If you’re an older adult, you know the importance of finding ways to reduce the risk of falling in your everyday life. Fall prevention is critical to ensuring the ongoing health and independence of senior citizens. Here are five precautions you can take to minimize your risk for falling:
- Take Care of Your Body
The number one way to prevent falls is to take care of yourself. It’s important to exercise regularly. A daily walk or swim can help keep you strong. Some experts recommend that older adults try out alternative forms of exercise like tai chi, which can help adults become more balanced and relaxed. Health issues, like certain circulatory diseases or poor eyesight, can also contribute to falls, so be sure to schedule regular checkups with your doctor and optometrist. If you have prescription glasses, make sure that you wear them regularly.
- Use an Assistive Device
Using a cane or a walker can go a long way in fall prevention if you need some extra support. Canes are a great option for older adults who need just a minor amount of support. Single-tipped canes are popular, but there are also canes with three and four tips that offer increased support. If a cane is no longer supportive enough, look into using a walker or other assistive device.
- Check Your Floors
It may seem obvious, but what’s on the floor of your home can greatly affect the frequency and severity of falls. Look around and determine if there is a clear path from one area of the house to another. Are there loose throw rugs or carpets in your home? Secure the rugs with something nonslip and make sure that loose carpets are nailed down.
- Turn on the Lights
As people age, they need more light to see what’s around them. So turning on the lights is a key piece of fall prevention. Keep your rooms well lit so that you don’t trip on anything lurking in the shadows. Make sure that light switches are easy to access and lamps are easy to reach. Consider installing lights that are motion-activated to limit your chance of tripping as you search for a light switch.
- Evaluate Your Home
There are plenty of ways to fall-proof your home. Think about installing handrails or grab bars in high-risk areas, especially near the shower or toilet. You can also replace a glass shower door with something shatterproof for increased safety. If you have to walk around furniture every time you get up, you may be at greater risk for a fall. Ask someone to help you rearrange it to give you a clearer path. You should also remove piles of things like newspapers or magazines because they are trip hazards. Finally, to give you more traction, wear shoes with sturdy soles even when indoors.
These tips are things you can start doing right away to improve your health and safety. Taking these few important precautions can help you minimize your risk of injury from a fall, which can help you remain independent longer.