Like or not, the probably of falling down starts to climb as we get older. Not only that, we have a greater chance of sustaining moderate (or even severe) injuries as a result of a fall. That’s because the musculoskeletal structure is weaker, and the impact of falling down can break bones, injure ligaments, and lead to other types of injury more easily.
The bottom line is that adults over the age of 65 have to be more careful and conscious about the prospect of falling down, whether it’s during exercise or simply walking around the house. There are certain falls that really can’t be helped, but a large number of damaging falls could have been avoided if people had taken deliberate steps to learn about falls and how to prevent them.
Here are a few simple and powerful ways to prevent falls in daily life as you grow older. Remember—one bad fall can take months or years to heal completely, even with proper therapy and treatment. The only good fall, therefore, is the one that never happens at all.
1. Wear the right shoes
This is a common sense tip, but sometimes people don’t realize how much their shoes increase the probability of a fall. Stay away from heels, flip flops, or old shoes with smooth soles. Comfortable footwear that give you a good grip on the ground are an excellent tool for fall prevention.
2. Learn more about your medications
Many elderly adults have multiple doctors who prescribe different medications, and coordination is sometimes lacking. Make a list of all your medications and supplements, prescription and non-prescription, and have your doctor look at possible interactions that could lead to dizziness or falls.
3. Learn about vestibular disorders
Problems in the vestibular organs, located in the inner ear, are the most common cause of vertigo. The sudden onset of dizziness and lack of spatial perception can easily lead to falls.
4. Install support rails at home
Areas of the home that are more prone to dangerous falls, such as shower stalls or slippery staircases, can be fitted with assistive devices to help you stay balanced — and to give you a support if you do slip.
5. Keep up your strength
Getting a healthy dose of exercise every day will help you stay strong and balanced. Leading an active lifestyle is a great way to reduce your risk of falls.
Working with a physio
Physical therapists are not only good at working with people who have fallen, and have been hurt as a result. They’re also good at preventing falls by strengthening the muscles and ligaments, and helping clients to become more conscious of bad habits that lead to falls. You may need certain assistive devices or amenities around the house, such as ramps or special railings, in order to facilitate better balance during routine daily activities. You may also have a vestibular disorder that’s affecting your ability to balance properly. A skilled physical therapist can help you identify and treat such problems.
Just make sure you do your homework, and don’t settle for anything less a fully qualified therapist with an excellent service record. You’ll end up with honest information, excellent treatment, and a healthier outlook on life.