Balance. Stability. Clear vision. They all become harder to maintain for senior citizens as we get up there in years. And as we lose our ability to control our movements, our risk of fall-related injuries rises in frequency.
Timed to coincide annually with the arrival of autumn, Fall Prevention Awareness Week kicks off on September 22nd. This nationally recognized week is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of fall-related injuries and how to prevent them. We want to highlight a few tips to help you prevent your loved ones from tripping and falling.
CONSEQUENCES OF FALL-RELATED INJURIES
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls represent the leading cause of injury and death among older Americans. The numbers alone are staggering: 29 million elderly people fall, 3 million end up in an emergency department, 800 thousand are hospitalized and 28,000 die every year.
In addition to broken bones or head injuries, the fear of falling can prevent a senior citizen to reduce their movements or stop physical activities altogether. Inactivity can increase the chance of developing chronic diseases. The CDC says elderly people with chronic kidney disease are at a higher risk of falling or suffering a bad injury. Other factors include vitamin D deficiency, foot pain or body weakness.
PREVENT FALL-RELATED INJURIES
To encourage your loved one to strengthen their body, try incorporating cycling, swimming or a simple walk to get activity in for the day. Although it is important to for serious to engage in a cardio workout, strength training is critical. As we age, men and women lose muscle mass. If you incorporate weights and challenge yourself, then your body will naturally get stronger. Plus here’s an added bonus: exercise is proven to slow the brain’s aging by about a decade.
Another way to prevent falls is to modify your home. You can install grab bars around the areas where you are forced to sit. For example, the shower and toilet are places where these modifications can come in handy.
“Get your family to help out with these modifications. You can clean the clutter around their home or install brighter lights,” said Andy Cruz, vice-president Pride PHC. “Small modifications can really make a big difference.”