Anyone can slip on a wet surface or trip over an object, but most people stand up, dust themselves off, and get on with their day. However, slip and fall accidents can be much more serious for senior citizens. Aging bodies are more susceptible to serious damage like fractures that lead to hospital stays. As a result, some older citizens avoid unnecessary walking, working in the yard, or even attending social events. While the risk is real, there are ways seniors can minimize the chance of falls and fractures and still enjoy full lives. The key is to identify and reduce risk factors.
1. Evaluate the Need for Professional Help
Senior citizens‘ risk factors can vary widely, depending on their general health and lifestyles. Some people classified as elderly are active and strong, while others who are the same age are more fragile and may need assistance. For independent seniors, preventing accidents and broken bones can be as simple as taking common-sense precautions. Those who are less robust may not be able to live alone.
Even very healthy elders may develop mobility issues as they age, but many remain at home with at-home nurses’ help. Others feel safer and happier when they move into community assisted living homes.
2. Diet and Exercise Matter
In the last few decades, the medical community has promoted supplements and dietary changes to strengthen aging patients’ bones. Stronger bones are less likely to fracture in a fall. Doctors still recommend a well-balanced diet for overall health, but studies show exercise may be even more critical. According to AARP, staying active can prevent many accidents and keep bones from breaking if seniors do fall. Elders who exercise three or more hours per week reduce their falling risk by 39%.
3. It Is Important to Be Well Rested
Sleepiness is a common cause of senior citizens’ falls and injuries. Older people need the same 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night as all adults, but their rest can be interrupted by pain, illness, or medication side effects. Chronically sleep-deprived seniors are far more likely to stumble and should speak to their doctors about ways to get the rest they need.
4. Seniors May Need Assistive Devices
Some independent elders dislike the idea of assistive walking devices, even if they are only temporary. However, if a doctor has prescribed a cane or walker, patients must use them to prevent falls and injuries.
5. Vision Exams Are Essential
According to the National Council on Aging, the eye changes as we age, making it harder to see tripping hazards. That increases seniors’ odds of falling. Older people should have routine vision exams that detect and correct problems. Those who need glasses should wear them, especially when they are standing up and walking.
6. Check Medication for Side Effects
Some medicines can cause dizziness or sleepiness, which are common causes of falling. Seniors must speak with their health care providers about the side effects associated with medications. Doctors and pharmacies typically explain these issues to patients, but it is always a good idea to check.
7. Reconfigure Homes for Accessibility
There are many ways seniors can alter their homes to help prevent falls. For example, they can install bathroom grab bars or walk-in tubs. Simply moving a bedroom to the first floor eliminates the need to climb stairs, and it is best to avoid throw rugs that can become tripping hazards. It is also essential that problems like broken steps are repaired. Fall prevention is critical for senior citizens who are susceptible to fractures. Those who are unsteady can use assistive devices or arrange for professional help when needed. Making a home safer is critical, and the elderly should get routine vision and hearing screenings. Getting enough sleep, being aware of prescription side effects, and staying well-rested is critical. The elderly also need to keep their bones strong with a healthy diet and regular exercise.