Hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized each year due to injuries from a fall. This highlights the importance of taking steps to improve senior wellness to minimize your fall risk. Two important things you can do include avoiding wet or slippery floors and staying active. The benefits of avoiding dangerous surfaces are obvious, but some people discount the value of an active lifestyle.
These aren’t the only methods of reducing fall risk. The caring staff at Northfield work diligently to ensure the health and safety of residents. Find out more about the services offered to ensure senior wellness by calling 844.334.1490.
Have Your Eyes and Hearing Tested
Quite often, people suffer falls because they weren’t completely aware of their surroundings. While mistakes can happen, you want to ensure that you don’t suffer a fall because you could not notice a hazard or obstacle.
If your goal is reducing fall risk, you need to prioritize your hearing and vision. Having eye and ear tests performed frequently will help you ensure that your eyeglass and hearing aid prescriptions are up-to-date. Remember to wear your glasses and hearing aids as often as possible, even when you are at home, as many people suffer fall accidents even while maneuvering within their own homes.
Consider Side Effects
Many prescription medications have concerning side effects, like drowsiness, low blood pressure, or low blood sugar. These side effects can lead to loss of balance, or fainting, which will inevitably end in a fall if the person is standing when the symptoms occur.
If you are concerned about reducing fall risk, you should be cautious of the following types of medicine:
- Medications that affect the brain – Psychoactive drugs can affect your brain function, sometimes causing sedation and drowsiness. They can also cause or worsen confusion in some people, especially people with memory problems.
- Medications that affect blood pressure – Drugs that may cause a sudden fall in blood pressure put you at a high risk of falling. These medications make the risk of postural hypotension higher. Because of this, a drop in blood pressure when you stand may cause you to lose balance quickly, resulting in a fall.
- Medications that lower blood sugar – If you are an adult with diabetes, medications that lower your blood sugar may increase your fall risk. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is one of the most common factors associated with diabetes.
If you are currently taking medications that increase your fall risk, speak to your doctor to see any alternative options available.
Wear The Right Shoes
Your shoes provide you with the traction you need to stand stably on the ground. If you don’t wear the right footwear, the risk of falling may increase. Seek shoes made with a slip-resistant tread, and preferably ones with low, closed heels. Senior citizens are safest going with common shoe types, like walking shoes, customized footwear, and boots. If you are concerned about the safety of your current shoes, talk to your doctor about having custom orthotics made to fit your feet.
Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant that affects your brain’s natural levels of serotonin and dopamine. It can also cause loss of motor skills and balance, which can easily contribute to a fall. If you aren’t careful while drinking, you may suffer common injuries like a broken arm or a broken hip.
While drinking doesn’t have to be avoided completely, seniors need to drink moderately if they move around a lot. For example, if you are attending a barbecue at the park, there will likely be many hazards that could cause a fall. Consuming alcohol could increase this risk.
Stay Physically Active
Senior citizens can improve their balance dramatically by walking, stretching, and doing light weightlifting. Physical activity goes a long way toward fall prevention, and with your doctor’s permission, you can even do more intensive activities like water workouts or dance. By engaging in more complex activities, you can increase your mobility significantly.
It is suggested that doing physical activities that improve your balance, strength, coordination, and flexibility, as proficiency in these areas is most important for avoiding falls. Though, if you feel that physical activity will increase your fall risk, speak with your doctor. They may refer you to a physical therapist that can create a custom exercise plan for you.
Do what it takes to get active, and you’ll be rewarded with a safer, healthier life.
Learn More About Senior Wellness at Northfield
At Northfield, our team takes great care to ensure that the environment is clear of hazards and residents’ safety. We also offer many services to help you maintain good health. Find out how you can engage in an exciting new lifestyle at Northfield. Use the online form or call 844.334.1490 to reach us. One of our team members will gladly help you learn why independent residential living is a great choice for seniors.