As we get older, our physical appearance changes, as does our bodies on the inside. According to Mayo Clinic, as we age, our bones weaken, muscles lose strength and our eyesight may become clouded, resulting in cataracts. All of these effects can influence your risk of having a fall and suffering an injury.
We’ve laid out the common causes and injuries associated with falls and ways to manage them through activities for seniors.
There are many risk factors that can play a role in causing seniors to fall. These include weakness of the lower body, not enough Vitamin D, trouble walking and/or balancing, side effects from medications, foot pain, and vision issues according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Along with physical ailments that can cause one to fall, the CDC also notes that inadequate footwear, broken/unbalanced steps, and rugs or clutter are also risk factors.
If you or your loved ones have one or multiple of these conditions, it’s important to recognize what is going on in the body and if a change is needed in footwear, Steps need to be fixed or avoided, rugs secured on the floor, and clutter picked up.
Falling, especially as a senior, can cause serious, sometimes deadly, injuries. With our bodies weakening as we age, our stability can be off and our vision can alter our ability to see objects in front of us.
There may be times when you fall and hit an object on the way down. This could include furniture, such as island tables, dressers, as well as doorways. Falls can also happen outside of the home. Tripping over a step, rocks, or a crack onto a hard surface such as concrete can also cause harmful injuries, especially if one falls hard.
One can break their ankle, arm, wrist, and even get hip fractures from falling, according to the CDC. In more extreme cases, one can fall and hit their head. If someone is taking blood thinners or other similar medications, this can make the outcome of a fall more severe. Riverside Community Hospital notes that when one is taking blood thinners, the bleeding caused by a fall may be more considerable and last longer affecting your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing.
How to Manage Them
Although we can’t stop the aging process, we can do our best to slow it down and take the extra precautions to help prevent falls from happening.
Here are some ways you can prevent yourself from experiencing a fall:
- Visit your doctor and let them know if you are falling or have conditions that may potentially cause you to fall.
- Add grab bars into your house in the bathroom. If you’re having difficulties walking, make sure you always have something to hold on to whether it’s a walker, railing or bars.
- Keep active. Physical activities may not be as easy as you remember, but pushing yourself to try to do them is still important! Exercise can benefit your flexibility, posture, mood, and energy. Activities can include:
- Walking around the neighborhood or park
- Tai Chi
- Water aerobics
4. Get sunlight! This can be done by doing some exercises stated above. If you live in an area where sunlight isn’t prominent or it is wintertime, you can get your dose vitamin D through:
- Eating fatty fish and seafood
- Eat mushrooms
- Add egg yolks to your regimen
- Take a supplement
- And more!
5. Eat healthily. A good diet is essential at any age. Here are a few ways you can ensure you are eating well:
- Drink water to keep hydrated.
- Have milk and any other dairy products (if you’re not lactose intolerant) to help strengthen your bones.
- Make sure you’re adding fiber to your diet. (Vegetables, whole grains, and fruits)
Food to eat:
- Yogurt for calcium.
- Good fats, such as olive oil and avocados to strengthen your heart health. Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna.
- They have high amounts of vitamin C.
6. Participate in creative activities. The mind is extremely important to your health as you age. Stimulate your brain to keep it active by doing these activities with friends and family:
- Doing seasonal crafts
Don’t be afraid of aging. Take the necessary steps to live a healthier life to prevent you from falling and injuring yourself.
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