One of the most frightening aspects of growing older is the steady loss of control over your own body and environment. Our bodies betray us as we age, losing agility, balance, and mobility and often leaving us with not only reduced capabilities as a result, but also an increased susceptibility to falls and other accidents as minor steps and other aspects of the home become huge obstacles.
Falls are, in fact, the leading cause of injury among elderly adults, and injuries suffered from falls often lead to more serious complications and erosion of independence. Prevention of falls should be a priority for anyone entering into older age, and there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of taking a fall that can lead to injury and worse.
Step One: Get Past Denial
The number-one problem with older people and falls is denial that their capabilities are reduced. In the USA alone, 1 in 3 older adults (65 years or over) have a fall each year, but less than half talk to healthcare providers about it. Find out more about the number of elderly people suffering from falls in the USA on this government website. No one likes to admit that they can’t handle things the way they used to, and many elderly people fear that admitting any sort of problem will begin an irreversible process that will begin stripping them of their independence and decision-making power. As a result, they deny they have mobility issues (even to themselves) and cover up any accidents. Denial has to be rejected before any progress can be made.
Step Two: Consider Your Shoes
One of the most commonly overlooked contributors to falls in the elderly are the shoes being worn. As you age and lose balance and agility, your footwear can either help compensate by giving you more traction and a wider base for better balance – but only if you admit you need the help and discard your favoured footwear. Also, avoid “slip on” shoes without laces or other loose-fitting shoes, as these can often betray you and slip off at the worst moments.
Step Three: Review the Home
There are several things that can be done in the home to help prevent falls:
- Remove unnecessary rugs. If rugs have to stay in place, purchase non-slip backers for them to ensure they do not slide underfoot. Tack down the edges to prevent catching a toe under a heavy rug and being overbalanced.
- Add railings. Even short single- or double-step stairs leading to porches or back rooms can be treacherous; Adding a simple metal railing to the walls can prevent slips and stumbles.
- Make pathways. Your furniture may be arranged to your liking, but moving it to create clear pathways through the house can go a long way towards preventing falls.
Step Four: Keep Moving
Finally, the best way to prevent falls is to exercise and keep up a healthy level of activity. This will not only help to slow down mobility problems and improve overall joint health and agility, it will also be practice for dealing with mobility limitations that already exist.
Falls can be prevented, and with them a host of associated problems. When something is this easily prevented, not doing so is not just dangerous – it’s foolish.
You can also look into getting a walking cane, which assists those with weak knees and especially anyone with a limp. You can take a look at walking cane reviews at UpligtingMobility.com.