Falls affect older adults at an alarming rate — every year, 1 in 4 seniors falls, according to the CDC. If you fall once, you have double the risk of falling again. Bethesda Gardens offers a safe environment with assistance for personal tasks to help you stay safe. The following tips can reduce your risk of falls even more.
A regular exercise routine helps you stay fit, but it might also help you stay steady on your feet. Focus on moves that improve your strength, flexibility, coordination and balance. If you're concerned about keeping your balance while you exercise, try modified exercises with support or seated exercise routines. Group exercise classes designed for older adults can be a good option. You get the workout you need under the supervision of an instructor along with socialization.
Walk through your home to look for potential tripping hazards. Cords and stacks of items near or across walkways can cause you to trip. Look at your furniture arrangement to make sure you have wide walkways. Rugs add a warm, soft feel to your home, but they can also be tripping hazards. Choose rugs that lie flat and have a slip-resistant backing. Corners that curl up can make you trip, and slippery backs could cause you to slide when walking across the rug.
Poor lighting can increase your risk of tripping, especially in the evening and at night. Night-lights in your bedroom and bathroom can help you navigate the area safely in the dark. If you don't want a light on constantly, install small motion-activated night-lights in key areas. They'll automatically light your path so you don't have to walk in the dark or fumble for a light switch. Keeping flashlights throughout your home can also come in handy during power outages or when you can't get to the light switch easily.
Assistive devices throughout your home can give you the support you need to avoid falls. Bathrooms are often a prime spot for these supports. Install grab bars near your tub and toilet. You can add raised toilet seats or armrests that make it easier to sit down and stand up. Tub seats help you clean yourself with a reduced risk of slipping. If you have stairs in your home, make sure there are railings on both sides.
Storing items in high cabinets or storage areas could create unsafe situations. Reaching to grab things or standing on a step stool could cause you to lose your footing. Rearrange items to keep them easily within reach. A grabber tool can come in handy if you need to get something that's not within easy reach.
Your physical health can impact your fall risks. Certain health conditions and medications can cause dizziness or sleepiness, which could lead to a tumble. Some auditory health issues like ear infections can cause balance problems, which can increase your risk of falls. Talk to your doctor about any concerns regarding your health or fall risks. Routine eye exams can also improve your safety by detecting vision problems early and keeping your corrective lenses at the appropriate prescription level.
What you put on your feet can have an impact on your chances of falling. Choose shoes with stable, sturdy soles that provide ample support. Check the bottoms to look for traction issues. Some shoes are slippery even on dry surfaces. Look for good grip on the soles of shoes and slippers. If you like to wear socks around the house, upgrade to socks with grippy bottoms to prevent slipping.
Your clothes can also impact your fall risk. Loose, baggy clothing can cause you to get tangled up in the fabric or get caught on furniture and possibly cause you to fall. Bottoms that are too long can also trip you while you walk.
As your mobility changes, you might find it more difficult to walk unassisted. Don't be afraid to use mobility devices to support yourself and prevent falls. A cane might be enough to help your balance and give you extra support. Some people benefit from walkers or rollators for additional support. Talk to your doctor if you're experiencing mobility issues.
Rushing through your day could lead to more falls. You're not as careful when you're in a hurry, and you might not notice a tripping hazard. Overdoing things physically can cause you to feel out of breath or lightheaded, which could make you lose your balance. If you feel off-balance, lightheaded or dizzy, take a seat and wait for the feeling to pass.
If you still live at home, a move to assisted living could lower your risk of falls. Assisted living at Bethesda Gardens offers you independence with assistance when you need it. Caregivers are available 24/7 to help you with personal needs such as going to the bathroom or getting dressed. Personalized care when you need it can lower your risk of falls or accidents. You also have easy access to help if you do fall. Finally, fitness and balance programs in the community can help you reduce your chances of a fall.