As I watch myself, my friends and collegues aging, my Occupational Therapy training makes me want to get on a soapbox and proclaim “PLEASE- take care!!” Falls, as we age, are more likely to become medical events we would rather not experience. Our older bones are less able to take a tumble, and recovery can bring its own complications. It’s not about being fearful of falling, but just being proactive about eliminating fall risks. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Don’t use socks for slippers unless they are non-slip. Tie your shoe laces. Many falls occur this way.
Always use a handrail going up or down stairs.
Eliminate trip hazards right when you notice them-electrical cords, loose boards, loose rugs. I put off screwing down a loose board on the back steps and fell, resulting in 5 weeks of pain from badly bruised ribs!!!
Move any clutter out of traffic paths in your home.
Keep some sand by your back door, to sand your way to your car. Make sand easily accessible to scatter on your pathways. Be proactive with sanding!!!!! Don’t forget the steps. I have several friends who have broken bones, slipping on ice.
Have something to hold onto when climbing on a step stool.
Don’t take risks in the yard and around the house. For example, don’t leave gardening tools lying scattered around your work area. It’s not worth it!
Have adequate lighting for night exursions. I know several people who fell downstairs because they didn’t turn on the lights.
Install a grab bar in the shower.
Drink water!!! Dehydration can cause dizziness. Our thirst mechanism falters as we age.
Stay strong and improve your balance. Tai Chi, Yoga, Fitness programs, and walking are great for keeping fit and maintaining a good sense of balance.