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Preventing Senior Falls

Falls have the ability to encourage an unwelcome cycle of incapacitation.  And, the older we become, the more debilitating the consequences can be.  Sometimes the reason for the tumble is apparent (e.g., something was in the way, another person bumped in to us), but there are times unobvious circumstances precipitate a fall.


Because falls usually occur when we least expect them, here are some factors to think about.


    • Medications.  Medication is prescribed to help make us feel better, and many times it accomplishes its mission.  Nonetheless, certain drugs can unfavorably affect our bodies and/or make us feel woozy or tired.  If you think your medication is affecting your stability, be sure to discuss this concern with your doctor.


    • Eye problems.  When we cannot see as clearly as we should, our chance of visually identifying a hazardous situation tends to lessen.  For example, we may miss a step or bump against a jutting object.  Since good vision is pivotal to negating falls, make an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist if you believe your eyesight is not as crisp as it should be.


    • Shoes.  Shoes that are too tight, too high, too slippery, too loose, too wide, etc., can throw off balance, encourage unsteadiness, and increase the risk of accidents.  Because of this, it is important to have your feet measured to be sure you are wearing the right-size shoe, and regularly choose comfortable footwear with nonskid soles.


    • Inflexibility.  Did you know that exercise helps to optimize balance, augment coordination, and increase strength?  Naturally, this all leads to improved footing and stability.  Inactivity, on the other hand, compromises steadiness.  So, as long as you have the approval of your doctor, be sure to engage in regular workout sessions.  If you are unsure which exercises are best for you, ask your physician or physical therapist for some ideas.


    • Inadequate lighting.  Lights that are too intense can produce an unwanted glare that ultimately affects a person’s ability to see.  At the same time, lights that are overly dull can make it difficult to discern common items in the way.  Well-it lighting devoid of glare is easier on the eyes and better for seeing surrounding objects.  (P.S.  Don’t forget to keep a flashlight nearby at all times in the event a power outage occurs!).

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