The arrival of fall makes us think about changing leaves and cool breezes, Resurgens Orthopaedics hopes it will make you think about another topic: fall prevention. While people of all ages can sustain orthopaedic injuries during a fall, people over the age of 65 are at more of a risk than any other group; in fact, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for people over 65. If you or a loved one is concerned about fall prevention, autumn is the perfect time to take some steps to reduce your risk of being injured in a fall. Here are a few tips to help keep you upright this fall (and every other season).
Be Mindful of Health Conditions That Can Cause Falls
There are a number of conditions that can affect balance, eyesight, and joint strength. In addition, the medications used to treat some health conditions can have side effects that affect balance and coordination. Nerve damage, head injuries, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson's disease, and many other conditions can cause you to have difficulty balancing, while poor eyesight can make it hard to see tripping hazards in your path. If you have any type of condition that affects balance or eyesight, it's important that you speak to your doctor about your symptoms and get them under control. Also, be sure to carefully read the literature that comes with any medications you're taking to find out if they could cause side effects like dizziness, light-headedness, or loss of balance.
De-Clutter Your Home
Keeping your home neat and organized isn't just about cleanliness; it's also about safety, especially for older people. Clutter in high-traffic areas like stairs and hallways can easily cause you to trip and fall, and a fall down the stairs can cause serious or even fatal injuries. If your home is getting a bit disorganized, it may be time to do some fall cleaning. Don't be afraid to ask for help if the job's too big for you to complete alone. Friends and family are a good place to start but you can also hire professionals to help you clean up and learn strategies to stay organized. With your clutter free home, you'll be much less likely to trip and fall, and your loved ones will be able to rest easier knowing you're safe.
Install Safety Equipment in High-Risk Areas
Even if your home is organized, accidents can still happen. Areas like stairs, showers, and kitchens can all present higher fall risks than other areas, so it just makes sense to take some safety precautions. Make sure all your staircases are equipped with a sturdy handrail and that there's no loose carpeting on the steps themselves. Showers can be outfitted with grab bars and non-slip mats to prevent you from falling in the bathroom. In the kitchen, be sure to remove any throw rugs that could cause you to slip and always remember to clean up spills immediately. A home safety specialist can help you identify other problem areas if you're having trouble getting started.
This fall, we hope you'll make a commitment to your own safety and take some time to think about fall prevention. A few minor upgrades to your home and some small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your risk of being injured in a fall, so don't wait to make those changes. Your loved ones will thank you!