Children fall every day. Sometimes, it seems like they’re made of rubber. They fall down, scrape a knee or an elbow, jump right back up again, and keep moving.
But it’s no longer easy…as you age, things change.
Falls becoming a big deal – perhaps even one of your biggest fears – and learning how to prevent a fall becomes more important than ever.
Why Preventing Falls is So Important
1 in 3 adults over the age of 65 fall every year.
In fact, falls are the number 1 cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in people over the age of 65. But how bad can a non-fatal fall really be?
Bad enough that 2 million people require treatment in an emergency room because of a fall every year.
More than 90% of hip fractures are caused by falls.
Of people who take a fall, only 25% will recover fully. 40% will have to be admitted into a nursing home or facility. 50% will need to use a cane or walker, as a result of the fall. And 20% of people who fall will die within a year.
I don’t mean to scare you – and as you’ll see in the rest of this article, there are a few simple ways to avoid falling.
So, now that I have your attention, let’s look at ways to prevent falls, because doing so is easy.
Enlist Your Doctor’s Help in Avoiding Falls
One of the most important ways to prevent a fall is to talk to your doctor.
Understand what short-term and chronic health conditions can do to your balance and stability.
Some medications can make you dizzy, as well. So ask what the side effects of any new prescriptions or supplements are.
Make sure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals, in the right amounts, to keep your bones and muscles strong.
Check in with him about your calcium and vitamin D levels, especially.
Getting more vitamin D can be easy, especially if you’re taking supplements high in this bone-protecting nutrient NorthStar Nutritionals has several vitamin D supplements, which you can find right here.
However, less than half of people over age 65 talk to their doctors about falling. Don’t be one of those people.
Your doctor would much rather talk to you about a fall before it has happened, rather than visiting you in the hospital afterwards.
How to Make Your House a Safe, Fall-Free Zone
This one is a little time consuming, but it is worth it in the long run.
Start with the floors. Make sure that all rugs and carpets are secure with double-sided tape, so that they don’t pop up, catch your foot, and throw you off balance.
You may even want to consider removing rugs, and going with carpets or hardwood flooring.
Also, try to keep your floors clear of clutter. This includes shoes, cables, plants, anything that might catch a foot or a toe.
Moving to cabinets and storage, relocate things you use every day, like glasses, plates and hobby supplies, to shelves where you can reach them without a stepstool. Even if you are steady on a stepstool now, that just means it’s a good time to be thinking about the future.
In the bathroom and on the stairs, install handles, bannisters, and grip bars. You want to be sure you have something to hold onto to help you balance, and grab onto should you slip. Again, even if you don’t need them yet, they are easier to install when you’re still active and strong!
Why Staying Active Will Actually Help You Avoid Falls
There’s this cycle that happens for many people: you’re afraid you’ll fall if you’re too active, so you slow down, stop doing so much. Only that makes you weaker, and less stable, which makes you more likely to fall.
So – break the cycle…stay active.
Keep doing what you love, because every step, every movement, every activity counts. From dancing to golf to gardening, it all helps you prevent a fall.
Whatever you’re already doing, consider starting some strength training as well. Doing resistance training 2-3 days per week helps keep bones strong.
And strong bones don’t break as easily. It doesn't have to be heavy weights. 1 or 2 pounds in each hand as you go for a walk around the block is all it takes.
Add balance exercises 2-3 days per week, too, and you’ll be ahead of the game. When you’re doing dishes, or even watching TV., stand on one foot for 30 seconds, then switch feet.
Or look into a yoga or tai chi class at your local community center or gym. Balance and flexibility give you stability – and that’s the easiest way to prevent falls.
These may seem like very small ways to prevent falls, but they offer big rewards. You’re vibrant, healthy, and strong. Make sure you stay that way. Learn how to prevent falls, and start taking those steps now.