Fall Down Go Boom?
It’s just a broken bone.” This statement is usually only spoken by a youthful person with strong bones. People can make the assumption that broken bones or fractures are an inconvenient condition—healing after 6 weeks of care.
However, broken bones are a serious condition causing pain and disability. The most effective way to prevent breaking bones is to prevent falling. Falls cause sudden stress on the bone, which can result in fractures. Following are valuable fall prevention tips.
Consult with your doctor. Talk to your doctor about your environment, health, and all medications, including any over-the-counter drugs you take. This is important to avoid dangerous side effects or drug-interactions that may increase your risk of falling.
Symptoms such as dizziness, numbness or shortness of breath may be symptoms of an inner ear infection which can affect your balance. Your doctor may also evaluate your muscle strength, balance, and walking style.
Keep Moving. Staying physically active is an important aspect of fall prevention. Activities such as walking, water workouts, and tai chi are gentle, yet effective exercises. You can reduce your risk of falling by improving your strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.
If you are concerned that an exercise program will actually increase your risk of falling, talk to your doctor. He/she may be able to help by recommending an appropriate exercise program for you. Your doctor may also refer you to a physical or occupational therapist to help design a tailor-made exercise program that will improve your flexibility, balance, muscle strength, and gait.
Wear sensible shoes. While this is not always popular advice for the fashion followers among us, sensible shoes are an important part of a fall prevention plan. High heels, sandals, floppy slippers, and slick soles can increase your risk of falling.
Shoe size can change as we age, gain, or lose weight. It’s recommended to have your feet measured each time you buy shoes. Shoes should have nonskid soles and lace up rather than slip on..
Remove hazards. Take a look around your home and remove any potential tripping threats. Potential hazards include clutter, decorative accents, electrical cords on the floor, furniture, loose floorboards, carpeting, and mats. Use nonskid floor rugs. Clean spilled liquids immediately to avoid slipping on wet surfaces.
Light up your living space. Good lighting becomes more important as we age because less light reaches the back of the eyes—which is where we sense color and motion. Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on hard-to-see objects. Place a lamp near your bed so that it is easily accessible.
Night lights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways are helpful. Turn on the lights before using the stairs. Store flashlights in convenient places, so they can be easily found during power outages.
Use assistive devices. Your doctor may recommend a cane or walker to support and keep you steady. Other supportive devices include grab bars, raised toilet seats, handrails on the stairway, and non-slip treads on stairs.
Awareness of your surroundings is an important part of fall prevention. You may find that you need to concentrate on movement and avoid distractions while walking or moving around.
You may need to communicate to your family and friends that you cannot walk and talk at the same time. It is important to safeguard your health by concentrating on your movement. It should go without saying that this caution also includes walking while talking on your cell phone.
Get adequate rest. Mistakes happen when we are overtired. Get enough sleep to keep your mind clear and alert.
Information in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical condition, consult your physician. Resources: Mayo Clinic website