As the Fall season approaches, there’s no better time to talk about falls…
Every year, millions of seniors are treated for bone fractures that were caused by a slip and fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four older people falls each year, leading to broken wrists, arms and ankles. These falls also account for 95-percent of all hip fractures for people over the age of 65, and unfortunately, falling once doubles their chances of falling again!
There are many risk factors that contribute to falling, including:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Difficulties with walking and balance
- Use of medicines (sedatives, or antidepressants and some over-the-counter medicines).
- Vision problems
- Foot pain or bad footwear
In an effort to reduce these injuries, gerontology researchers have been studying the most common causes for fracture-creating falls. In a new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, doctors found the majority of seniors who had fractured their wrists scored much lower on the balance tests than those who had gone fracture-free. The study also revealed that many of the participants were not given tools to help improve their stability.
Here are a few things you and your loved ones can do to improve their balance:
- Participate in low-impact exercises at least three to four times a week. Yoga, Tai chi, walking, water aerobics, and strength training are all good for improving balance and strength.
- Simple balance exercises like standing on one foot for 30 seconds then switching to the other foot, and walking heel-to-toe across the room are also helpful.
- Have their vision checked. Conditions such as glaucoma or cataracts make it harder to see obstacles on the floor.
- Wear shoes with good tread.
- Repair home hazards or dangers like broken or uneven steps. Throw rugs or clutter should be secured or put away, and handrails should be installed along stairs and in the bathroom.
- Make sure the lighting throughout the house is good, purchase some inexpensive plug-in nightlights for the bathrooms and hallways, and if she has stairs, put in handrails.
- Purchase some helpful aids talk to her doctor or a physical therapist about getting her fit for a cane or walker.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said… “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
Enjoy this beautiful weather with your loved ones,