Fall Prevention: Enjoy Your Summer Days Without X-rays

  • June 21, 2018
 Fall Prevention: Enjoy Your Summer Days Without X-rays

Summer is officially here—and so is National Safety Month. What better time to discuss how to avoid falls while you’re having fun in the sun? You wouldn’t want your summer activities to be limited because you’re recovering from a nasty fall.

According to the National Council on Aging, one in every four Americans aged 65 and up falls each year. Additionally, emergency departments treat almost 3 million seniors for fall-related injuries every year. With such staggering statistics, here are some tips on how to avoid falls so you can venture outside and enjoy all summer has to offer:

Be Careful In Your Home

Your home is your safe place but not when it comes to fall risks. Even though sunny days get you out of the house more, your home is still likely where you spend most of your time. In-home falls account for nearly 50 percent of elderly falls. With so many possible risks in the home, it’s important to take precautions to avoid falling.

The most dangerous areas of the home for the elderly are usually the kitchen and the bathroom because of possible wet and slippery surfaces, so be extra cautious in these areas. Here are some ways to avoid these dangerous areas as well as other hazardous parts of the home:

  • Dry wet surfaces immediately

  • Remove clutter around the house

  • Use a cane or a walker around the house for additional support

  • Install grab bars in the bathroom

  • Tie up or hide any exposed cords or wires

  • Replace any poor- or non-functioning light bulbs to improve lighting

  • Secure or dispose of any loose rugs

  • Mark the ends of each stair in your house with bright tape to increase visibility

  • Be aware of pets in your path

Wear the Right Attire For the Occasion

Wearing the appropriate shoes and clothing for the occasion is important because both could contribute to a fall. Clothing that falls past your feet can be a trip waiting to happen, especially if you are active. Consider fitting all of your clothes so they don’t go below your feet.

Also, your shoe choice can affect your fall risk. Wear suitable shoes for the activity you are doing. Sandals and flip-flops are common shoe apparel, particularly in the summer, but they don’t offer much support or stability. Try to avoid slip-on shoes and consider wearing thin-soled shoes. Many people believe soft, thick shoes offer significant support and help reduce falls, but they can often have the opposite effect. Thin, firm shoes can increase your ability to feel the sensations that assist your balance, ultimately decreasing your chances of falling.

Stay Hydrated

In hot summer months, it’s easy to become dehydrated, and seniors are especially vulnerable. Exposure to high temperatures can cause weakness, dizziness, and other symptoms, all of which could result in a fall. Staying properly hydrated throughout the day offers many benefits:

  • Drinking two glasses of water in the morning can help activate your internal organs

  • Drinking one glass of water 30 minutes or so prior to a meal can help your digestion

  • Drinking one glass of water before taking a bath or shower can help lower your blood pressure

  • Drinking one last glass of water before going to bed can prevent leg cramping

In addition to drinking water at these specific times in the day, keep water with you to drink throughout the day. Also, try replacing other liquids such as coffee or soda with water. Try adding fruit to your water to make it more flavorful and pleasant to drink.

Practice a Healthy Diet

This may seem like a generic piece of advice repeated by concerned doctors or family members, but there’s a reason your loved ones keep pushing you to eat healthily. Your diet significantly influences your health and strength, which directly relates to your ability to avoid falls. These tips will help you make healthy food choices and will help prevent you from falling:

  • Even if you aren’t hungry, eat something for every meal

  • Keep healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts around the house

  • Drink water consistently throughout the day

  • Eat a variety of foods, focusing on lean protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables

  • Decrease your salt and sodium intake — try seasoning food with healthy herbs and spices instead, such as cayenne pepper, sage, turmeric, etc

  • Limit your sugar intake

  • Eat foods high in fiber

  • Take daily multivitamins

  • Watch your serving sizes

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

A potential fall risk may enter your path unexpectedly, so be aware of your surroundings at all times. Try to pay attention to at least six feet in front of you so you can carefully move out of the way if something appears that could potentially cause a fall, such as a large curb, a traffic sign, a stray bike, etc.

Stay Active

The more active you are, the stronger your muscles are going to be and the less likely you are to fall. Remaining active as you age ensures your muscles remain strong. These light activities can help keep you strong and active:

  • Aquatic aerobics

  • Walking/jogging

  • Gardening

  • Biking

  • Lightweight lifting

  • Yoga

  • Dancing

  • Bowling

Watch For Uneven Terrain

Outside walkways are unpredictable. You could fall because of a simple dip in the sidewalk or a disguised pothole in the road. To avoid this, watch for uneven terrain at all times to make sure you have a sturdy ground to walk on. Watch out for the following hazards when walking outside:

  • Uneven sidewalk/grassy areas

  • Potholes

  • Water puddles — not only are they wet and dangerous, they might also have a pothole hiding underneath

  • Tree roots

  • Large curbs

  • Sheets of ice

Regularly Check Your Eyesight

Bad eyesight will make it easier to miss something in your path and could result in a fall. Regular eye exams will keep your eyesight as strong as possible and help you to be aware of any possible problems. People with vision issues are more than twice as likely to fall than those who don’t. People with vision loss often report difficulty maintaining balance, decrease in activity and strength, and trouble seeing potential obstacles. Report the following warning signs to your doctor immediately:

  • Blurry vision

  • Sensitivity to lights

  • Eye pain

  • Difficulty seeing at night

  • Problems with depth perception

These prevention tips can decrease your chances of falling, but they can’t guarantee you won’t have an accident.

As an extra precaution, consider purchasing a medical alert system to ensure you will never truly be alone—as one of your emergency contacts or a highly trained operator—is always just a button push away to assist. Knowing you can always call for help in the case of an emergency, or non-emergency will give you the peace of mind, independence, and protection you deserve to have your best summer, yet!

Guest Blog Written By BestCompany.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Medical Guardian is a leading provider of innovative medical alert systems that empower people to live a life without limits.

KEYWORDS: fall prevention, dangerous areas of the home for the elderly, remaining active as you age, healthy diet

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