One of the greatest dangers facing older adults is the possibility of falling. According to the CDC, 95 percent of hip fractures in people over age 65 are caused by falling. Falls are the most common cause of brain injuries in older people. While you can’t completely eliminate the chance of falling, you can reduce its likelihood by following these simple tips from Sideline Orthopedics and Sports Medicine:
Clear Your Path
One of the biggest risks for falling is tripping over something. At any age, it makes sense to resist cluttering the stairs and halls in our homes or leaving objects on frequently used walkways. Accidents happen when we’re thinking about something else and get tripped up by book we left on the floor or a pair of shoes we failed to put away. Loose runners or area rugs pose a hazard, too, particularly for people who tend to shuffle more than they walk. Rugs are best removed for enhanced safety. Wearing slippers or shoes with a rubber tread rather than slippery socks on bare floors is a great anti-fall measure.
Compensate for Sensory Deficits
As we get older, our senses tend to get blurry around the edges. Our hearing is not as sensitive, our vision can fade and even our sense of touch may dull a bit. This means that tasks which we could have done without a second thought when younger now require assistive devices and the self-discipline to use them. You’ll thank yourself for always taking a moment to put on your glasses, put in your hearing aids or pick up your cane for navigating, especially in the dark.
Not only is exercise important for cardiovascular fitness and mood-lifting endorphins, but for older adults it keeps aging muscles and bones stimulated and fit, while fine-tuning coordination and staving off fragility. Exercise such as a daily walk, swimming or yoga helps older adults avoid falls and weather a fall with less damage.
Monitor Your Medications’ Side Effects
As we age, many of us require medications to help manage various conditions. Unfortunately, a common side effect of many medications is loss of balance and equilibrium. Additionally, as people age, it takes smaller doses to induce both the intended and side effects of medication. If you feel your functioning is compromised by a new medication or an increased dose of a familiar medication, call your doctor so he or she can advise you.
These are, of course, just a few ways older people can protect themselves from falls. If you fear falling or are recovering from an injury, consulting Sideline Orthopedics and Sports Medicine can help. Our orthopedic team is trained to manage osteoporosis, or bone loss, in older adults, as well as balance issues. If you or a loved one does fall, we are experienced at addressing fractures and doing surgery for fracture repair, as well as post-injury rehabilitation. Please contact us today in Blacksburg by calling (540) 552-7133 or scheduling an online appointment.