As more and more Baby Boomers age into their senior years, fall-related injuries are expected to surge. That is, unless preventative measures are widely adopted.
Research shows that falls are already the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among Older Americans. There are, however, plenty of ways for Boomers to hedge against becoming a fall statistic. Exercise, rearranging your home to remove tripping hazards and using assistive devices, like walkers and grab rails, can all be effective solutions.
There are other solutions that aren’t as commonly known. Let us share with you several examples right here in our blog.
1. Get your feet checked. Have your healthcare provider examine your feet, and if necessary, refer you to a podiatrist or pedorthist for medical attention and modified footwear. Unfortunately, older adults often wear poorly-fitting shoes that either creates or compounds foot issues. This is especially true for older adults who struggle with obesity, neuropathy and diabetes.
2. Schedule regular vision exams. Eyesight often declines with age, and conversely, the rate of eye disease increases. Poor vision can impact one’s ability to see the environment and avoid potential tripping hazards.
3. Eliminating unsafe behaviors. Riding a motorcycle and skydiving are obviously unsafe in advanced age. Did you know that so is rushing, standing on wobbly chairs or stools, and attempting activities beyond one’s physical limitations? Asking for help from an adult family member or neighbor can be an easy solution.
4. Gait and posture. Poor gait and posture are significant contributing factors to falls, and they’re usually resolved with exercise and physical therapy. Poor gait, such as shuffling feet when walking, can be a sign of weakened leg muscles. If you have these concerns do not wait to talk to your healthcare professional.
5. Combat depression and loneliness. Depression is an unfortunate psychological and emotional ailment that can spawn physical risks in older people. Lonely and depressed seniors tend to avoid social contact and outside activities. Unfortunately, this lack of engagement can lead to decreased physical strength, balance, and mobility.
Know that falling is not a normal part of the aging process. There is also never a wrong time to plan forward for you and your loved ones. We encourage you to ask us your questions about your long-term care and aging concerns. Do not hesitate to schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum.