Let’s face it – falling is scary no matter your age. Although younger people might be able to get right back up and bounce back, our older population falling can not only be extremely painful, but also very scary. It’s important to understand why people can fall:
- Balance and Gait: As we age, we often lose coordination, flexibility, and balance. These are all especially important when you’re trying to prevent yourself from falling.
- Vision: Vision loss is one of the major factors in balance loss. It reduces our ability to see edges and obstacles, and those can result in tripping hazards.
- Environment: If you live in an area with uneven ground, lots of steps, and tight spaces, falls can happen frequently.
The first step to preventing falls is to analyze your surroundings; do you or the person you are concerned about have stairs in the living environment? Is there dim lighting where there should be a bright light source? Is the ground uneven? All of these are common causes of falls, and are all easily fixed. There are also additional simple tips to help prevent falls:
- Lighting: Make sure dark hallways, rooms, and other spaces always have adequate lighting. With good lighting, you can prevent tripping and see obstacles in your way. Invest in motion detectors for your lights so if your light switch isn’t close to the entryway of the room. This is reducing the possibility of tripping on the way to the light switch.
- Stairs: Along with making sure that the stairs are bright enough, stairs should have two secure rails to use while climbing them. By having railings to hold on to, you’re helping balance issues and providing security.
- Wearing shoes: Although socks might be comfortable, they are slippery and can cause falls. Shoes have more traction on the soles to provide stability. If wearing shoes isn’t a solution for you, invest in slippers with grippy bottoms.
- Clean up/reduce clutter: This may seem like a common-sense idea, but even the smallest item can cause tripping/falling. Secure any items that may fall out of something or may fall over by themselves.
Follow these tips for one of the easiest ways to avoid basic injury, and prevent falling overall.