One of the main concerns for any 55+ adult is falling. A fall can cause not only severe injury, often taking months of hospitalization and therapy, but it can even result in death. Many Boomers may think this doesn’t apply to them – until it does! Please pay attention now because we are talking about prevention here. It does apply to you. Take it from me – Just recently, two friends of mine, females ages 65 and 66 had falls that landed them in the hospital and both will be in rehab for months! One broke her hip and the other hurt her shoulder badly. This really hit home for me.
Although accidents can happen at any time, knowing how to properly assess and prevent these types of incidents goes a long way in helping us Boomers stay safe and independent for many years. Here are a few steps Boomers and seniors should take to determine risks and prevent falls.
There are so many health conditions that can put you at an increased risk of falling. Osteoporosis, arthritis, or diabetic neuropathy, to name just a few, can affect your lower limbs, joints, and even balance. If you have any health conditions, the first more proactive thing you can do is learn more about your own health. Have your doctor assess you and get a clear understanding of risks that are specific to you; this includes talking about medications you might take that can cause dizziness or other side effects that could result in falls.
Tidy up your home and remove anything that may prohibit easy movement around your house. Remove all obstacles on the floor that can cause a trip or slip! Make anything that you use on a regular basis easily accessible too.
Movement and exercise will increase your balance, strength, and flexibility, which goes a long way in preventing falls (not to mention, it’s good for your overall health!). There are quite a number of senior-designed exercise programs in solo or group settings to take advantage of. Look into Silver Sneakers!
Always wear good-fitting shoes that provide comfort and proper support to keep your balance and posture strong! When at home, you can wear socks and slippers designed with non-slip soles. Avoid slip-on shoes or pairs with thicker soles, as those tend to fit loosely (one of my friends who landed in the hospital was wearing flip-flops).
Brighten up your home by keeping shades open during the day and making areas well-lit in the evening. You can also place nightlights in areas such as hallways, the kitchen, and especially bathrooms. I have put LED nightlights with motion detectors in my bedroom and bathroom! These steps will provide well-lit areas so you can find your way around and avoid obstacles around your house.
Consider home improvements designed for aging-in-place. This new concept centers on the idea of making home improvements to assist seniors living in their homes. Some ideas are rather easy. Others require remodeling. Examples of improvements are installing bathroom handrails, walk-in showers, and widening door openings. For those on a budget, you can simply place nonslip pads in showers and bathroom floors or use rug grippers. Of course, you could also move to a 55-plus community which have houses or apartments already built in livable designs.
If you’re looking for a certified aging-in-place specialist, then start here:
Originally published October 12, 2022