By Michelle Trahan, Acadian on Call, New Orleans LIVING WELL Magazine
Many people believe that falls are a natural part of aging. This fact is untrue and many falls can be prevented if the proper precautions are taken.
There are basic skills related to balance requiring upper and lower body strength and flexibility that can reduce the likelihood of an accidental fall. If a person can perform the following list of everyday tasks, an accidental fall will be far less likely to occur.
-Stand on one foot for 5 seconds.
-Reach down and pick up a 5 lb. object off the floor.
-Reach up to a high shelf to get down a book or other object.
-Walk at a comfortable pace and turn your head, looking from side to side, at the same time.
-Tilt your shoulders back and arch your upper back.
-Reach back with each leg to take a giant step backward.
-Get up from a chair without using your hands.
-Walk up and down a flight of stairs.
-Lift 10 pounds.
-Wiggle your feet easily, stand on your toes, and balance on one foot.
Another way of preventing falls is making your home safer by applying non-slip surfaces, lighting dark areas, securing any area rugs or carpeting, installing grab bars and handrails by the tub, shower, and toilet, and arranging furniture to avoid blocking walking paths.
Having your vision checked regularly to ensure you have the correct glasses and contact lenses, participating in a regular exercise program to enhance your muscle strength and mobility, and checking your medications to see if they cause drowsiness are all preventative measures that can be taken to avoid falls.
Lastly, investing in a medical alert system in the event that a fall occurs is always a good idea. Half of all older adults hospitalized for hip fractures cannot return home or live independently after their injuries.
Following these recommendations will greatly reduce your chances of experiencing a dangerous fall and help you to live a healthy and accident-free life for many years to come.
Acadian On Call provides medical alert systems nationwide and may be reached at 800.259.1234 or visit us online at www.AcadianOnCall.com.