According to the CDC, one in four adults over 65 falls each year, and one in five falls causes serious injury. Falls can range in severity, from cuts and bruises to broken bones to traumatic brain injury, loss of mobility and independence, or even death. But falling is not part of normal aging, and anyone of any age can reduce their risk by building strength and addressing potential hazards to regain their confidence.
“Even if a fall does not result in major injury, the fear of falling again may make a person hesitant to pursue everyday activities,” says Jillian Castellano, Director of Community Relations at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, a senior living community offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
“This fear does far more harm than good, however, often leading to social isolation, depression, lack of exercise, and further physical decline that actually increases the chances of repeat falls,” Castellano adds.
In this post, we’ll address physical and environmental conditions that contribute to falls and offer practical ways to keep you on your feet.
PHYSICAL RISK FACTORS
- Lower body weakness due to loss of muscle mass as we age
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Feeling off-balance
- Limited flexibility due to arthritis or stiffness in the hips, knees, or ankles
- Use of certain medications, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants that may cause dizziness or drowsiness; these can be prescription or over-the-counter
- Vision problems
- Foot pain or ill-fitting or inappropriate footwear
- Try these simple, senior-friendly exercises to improve balance, strength, and flexibility. If you need a motivation boost, ask a friend to join you for your workouts or consider a structured, evidence-based fall prevention program. These or similar programs may be offered at your local senior center or gym.
- Give tai chi a try. Did you know tai chi can reduce falls up to 50 percent? It’s a popular choice for older adults because people of all fitness levels can benefit from its low-impact moves, slow and deliberate body movements, and deep breathing exercises.
- Review your vitamin D intake and medications with a doctor or pharmacist. You may be able to replace your prescription or over-the-counter meds with effective alternatives that don’t have the offending side effects.
- Have regular eye exams and update your glasses prescriptions.
- Evaluate your fall risk with the National Council on Aging’s online assessment tool and ask your medical provider for personalized recommendations.
- Choose comfortable footwear that provides proper support and traction. Double-knot your laces or opt for secure slip-ons.
RESIDENTIAL RISK FACTORS
A poorly designed or unsafe environment, rushing to the bathroom in the middle of the night, slippery surfaces, hard-to-step-into tubs, insufficient lighting ... it’s not surprising that more than half of falls occur inside the home, with 70% of those happening in the bathroom. Falls in the bedroom are also common and can happen while getting out of bed, up from a chair, and reaching or bending for closet items.
Fall Prevention Around the House
- Ensure a light is within arm’s reach of the bed or chair.
- Increase general and task lighting. Put brighter light bulbs in existing light fixtures.
- Use night lights to light paths to the bathroom.
- Keep electrical cords neat and against walls.
- Keep pathways wide, straight, and free from clutter.
- Remove or secure throw rugs and smooth bunched-up carpet.
- Place commonly used items between waist and shoulder height.
- Install and use grab bars and handrails.
- Place non-slip mats in the bathroom, tub, and shower.
- Choose stable seating with armrests.
- Wear supportive footwear with slip-resistant soles both inside and outside the house.
- Paint contrasting colors on the edges of steps and stairs to compensate for loss of depth perception. Bright colors are easier to see.
- Get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
- Consider wearing a fall alert and alarm device that can summon help in case you do fall and can’t get up.
Learn how our daily exercise sessions, nutritious dining options, and maintenance-free apartment homes help active seniors stay safe and independent at YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens. Give us a call at 561-214-8549 to schedule a visit!
Inspired • Engaged • Fulfilled
Offering Independent Living with Supportive Services, Assisted Living and Memory Care, YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens was designed specifically with residents in mind. We know your life is shaped by family, friends, hobbies, passions and more, so we’ve created a community where you can enjoy comfort, independence, and engagement, all while having the peace of mind of 24-hour support and the freedom to define your own lifestyle. Here, we shape each thing we do around you, from your routines and interests to your choices and preferences, to create an inspiring lifestyle that fits your life perfectly.
Because we are completely shaped around you, our residents get more out of their lives. With exceptional care delivered by a dedicated and compassionate team and a fulfilling lifestyle full of choice and convenience, residents have the support they need to live as independently and engaged as possible.
Each day holds something new for residents. Whether they are enjoying our exclusive activities, learning something new or simply engaging in our YourStory programming, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. Do you enjoy making new discoveries and trying new hobbies, simply want to continue the hobbies you love or enjoy some time to yourself to relax? At YourLife™ of Palm Beach Gardens, the choice is yours.
Call us at 561-214-8549 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.