Before You’ve “Fallen and Can’t Get Up”
Did you know that one in four adults over 65+ fall every year. Falling is a common occurrence and especially among aging adults as their balance is not as strong as in their younger years. It is important to take measures to prevent falling because it can cause injury and change how you live out the next phase of life with possible pain or mobility issues. How can you become more balanced and improve your health to avoid falls? There is no magic formula, but there are steps that help you maintain better health and reduce the opportunity to fall.
5 Steps to Help Prevent Falling
Explore your Medications
It is important to check your medication’s warnings in that it does not cause dizziness or drowsiness. Also discuss all medicines you are taking with your physician because certain combinations may not be good for your balance. Do not think that because you are not operating heavy equipment that you are immune from the medication’s side effects. If you do not know how to handle or prevent the side effects, it can lead to falling. You might have medications that are necessary for healthy living or help you with an illness. However, when it comes to falls, you need to be proactive and know all the nuances in taking your medications to help prevent falls.
Create the Best Fall Proof Environment
As the season is changing to more damp and colder weather, we tend to add a few things to our living space. For example, maybe a rug to keep our floors dryer or a small heater to keep us a touch warmer. However, both of these added comforts can cause serious issues with falling or tripping. You need to look at your home and living space to make sure it is free of loose rugs, cords, or stacks of books that can cause a tumble when you least expect it.
Practice Exercises that Build Balance
If you feel frustrated that your balance is off, it is hard to get motivated to take a class or practice exercises that make you stronger to avoid a tumble. A great exercise to help you think about balance and control is Tai Chi. It is a slow progressive movement that helps you keep control and balance in everyday life. The class also will offer you the opportunity to socialize. Another example is yoga. Like Tai Chi, it helps with balance and the movements are slow and deliberate to build strength too. Being active helps with balance and independence, and keeps you moving through the next chapter of living with grace.
Check your Vision and Hearing Annually
As we are aging sometimes a few things start to wane. Hearing and vision are no exceptions. You need to get both checked annually and keep up with the changes, so you can see items that can cause a fall. Also, with hearing, you need hearing in check for your balance. If you have hearing issues, it can negatively impact your quality of life and that includes your balance which could alter the things you like to do. Again, it comes down to keeping your independence to live a healthy and graceful life.
Talk to Family and Doctors
Falling is not necessarily an aging issue, but one that needs addressed with your physician. If you are having issues with balance, you need to discuss it with your doctor, as it could be you have some inner ear issue that needs to be explored or a mix of medications affecting you. Balance is something you need to have and understand that if you have problems, it is not that you are always clumsy. You could have a balance disorder and that is something you want to get some answers for, as it could be heart, ear infection or other physical concerns you need to take care of soon.
Remember preventing falls is about keeping independence and not restricting or limiting your choices in life. Not all falls mean you are old or clumsy, but can be a result of a bigger health concern. Therefore, it is important to discuss falling and balance with your family and your physician immediately. Need more guidance on aging or tips to help your loved one age gracefully in the next phase of life? Contact us at Continuing Healthcare Solutions and we will help guide you today!