Suggestions to Reduce the Risk of Falls
The Mayo Clinic reminds older adults it is important they take proper precautions to prevent falls. Medical conditions, the resulting medications needed, and a more sedentary lifestyle can result in weaker muscles and balance problems that can lead to a fall. Also, please keep in mind, a fall for an older adult can cause injuries that are very serious such as a broken hip, head trauma, or in the most severe cases, death.
However, the solution to preventing falls is not to stop moving. The medical experts at the Mayo Clinic explain being inactive is bad for our health regardless of how old we are, and it is vital that we keep moving. To that end, they suggest a commonsense six-part plan to keep seniors safely mobile.
Their first recommendation is to set up an appointment with your doctor. Bring to the visit a list of all your medications and be prepared to discuss with your doctor any side effects of the drugs that may put you more at risk for a fall such as anti-depressants or sedatives. It may be possible to eliminate or substitute the medication for something else. Also, talk to your doctor about whether you have fallen and if it was due to your medical condition.
In addition, discuss with your healthcare provider what type of exercise would be best for you. Typically walking, swimming and something like tai chi are gentle exercises that are safe for most; and offer the benefit of strengthening muscles, improving balance, and gait.
Other ways to lessen your risk for a fall begins by reviewing your home with an eye to fall prevention. Start by checking hallways and stairways for adequate lighting and add more if needed. Secure loose rugs and make sure you have wide clear paths for walking around your home. Wear proper fitting shoes with nonskid soles and use assistive aids like a cane or walker if necessary to maintain your balance. Install grab bars and railings where needed.
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