Anyone can fall. But as we age, our risk of falling increases. Falls are the leading cause of injuries among Canadians 65 years and over. They account for 85% of seniors’ injury-related hospitalizations, making this the leading cause of injury-related admissions for seniors. The average Canadian senior had to stay in hospital 10 days longer for falls than for any other cause.
Approximately half of the falls that lead to hospitalization among seniors occurs at home. The bathroom and stairs are particularly hazardous due to the risk of slipping, tripping and stumbling. That’s the bad news. The good news is there are ways to implement fall prevention!
The first step to avoiding falls is to understand what causes them. The causes of falls are known as risk factors. No single risk factor causes falls, but the greater the number of risk factors, the greater the probability that a fall will occur. Seasons Retirement Communities is dedicated to helping you reduce your chances of falling by following a few simple guidelines.
Your independence and well-being are at stake. Take action!
Eat healthy meals
Nutritious meals keep up strength, resistance and balance. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Don’t skip meals. It can cause weakness and dizziness resulting in falls.
Engage in physical activity every day: It’s your best defense against falls! Walk regularly. Try Tai Chi. Do what you can to maintain your flexibility and balance. Build your muscle and bone strength by doing “resistance” activities or exercises such as weight lifting.* Have your hearing and vision checked regularly.
Use medication wisely
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects of prescription or over-the-counter medication. Read directions carefully so you’re aware of potential reactions with other medications. If your medication causes dizziness or sleepiness, adjust your activities so you aren’t at risk of falling. Don’t mix alcohol and medications. Alone or in combination with drugs, alcohol can cause falls.
Use safety aids and mobile devices
Wear your glasses and hearing aid. Consider using a walker or cane. If you use a cane, make sure that it’s the correct height and that it’s rubber-tipped for safety. Appropriate footwear is important. Comfortable shoes that provide good support can help to prevent falls. Find out about other gadgets that can make your life safer: reachers, anti-skid soles, hip protectors, etc.
Fall prevention is important
Seniors who fall may limit their activities for fear of falling again. Yet by limiting activities, they are likely to lose strength and flexibility and increase their risk of falling again. Maintaining physical activity is essential if you wish to prevent falls and injury. Be sure to speak to your family doctor, or the Health & Wellness Manager at Seasons, for more ideas to help you prevent falls and stay healthy!
*Always consult your doctor before you embark on an exercise program.
Sources: www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/seniors-aines/ publications/public/injury-blessure/safelivesecurite/chap2-eng.php