Preventing Falls as We Age

Sep 18, 2022 | Uncategorized

Regardless of which list you reference, acrophobia (the fear of heights) always ends up as one of peoples’ top phobias. It’s for a good reason, too. Falling can be not only scary but dangerous. As our balance and resilience deteriorate, this risk increases as we age, and skeletal structures become more porous and fragile. But even when we’re little, nobody wants to fall down. It hurts! Plus, the fall is much farther now that we’re no longer just a couple dozen inches from the ground. So preventing falling as we age is a major priority.

September rolls around to usher in fall (the season) and, with its synonymous season, uses the opportunity to promulgate Fall Prevention Awareness Week. Leaves are pretty falling; humans are not. And as we age, both the chances and repercussions of falling rise respectively. Luckily there are some precautions we can (and need to) take to reduce circumstances that could precipitate those nasty stumbles and tumbles. Here we’ve compiled a few of the most important preventative measures to take to ensure one stays safe and upright.

The most obvious strategy is to make sure your terra firma is, in fact, firm, stable, and uncluttered. Making sure that rooms and walkways are clear and unobstructed, so there is nothing to trip on, is fundamental. If there are area rugs, make sure they lie flat. Even consider tacking, taping, or gluing them to the flooring so that the edges do not furl up, creating a knobby tripping hazard. Secure any cords to the perimeter rather than strewn about the floor. This could require getting some extension cords and making sure they are long enough to run along baseboards from outlet to device.

Another method of prevention is to have one’s vision and hearing checked. The vision part is pretty straightforward: keeping eyes as sharp as possible to spot any obstacles before they get underfoot. In that same vein, ensure the lighting of your living space is adequate, and install night lights if necessary to illuminate your path for nighttime bathroom trips. The hearing aspect might seem less obvious; however, the ear also plays a significant role in balance. Having hearing and ear function checked can preclude instability issues before they even happen.

It is also a great time to embark upon an exercise regimen to help improve overall balance and strength. The more stable one is on two feet, the less likely they are to stumble. Additionally, if one does fall, muscle mass and better reflexes can help fall in a manner that can prevent more egregious injury. If more support is needed, use a cane or walker. You can take solace in these devices as they help to increase mobility and overall independence.

Something else to consider is joining an Assisted Living community. These are extraordinary for adults who want to maintain their independence but have assistance available to them 24/7. This can be, quite literally, life-saving in an emergency-type situation like a fall, and that gives everyone peace of mind. Not to mention, Assisted Living also has some other pretty cool perks like exercise and strengthening programs, mobility escorts, and transportation services.

So while the efforts required to help prevent falls may seem inconsequential, just remember that recovering from them takes on a whole new level. Fall (the season!) cannot be avoided; however, many physical falls most definitely can. So let the leaves do the falling and enjoy the season on two feet.