Want to stay healthy and happy all your life? You’ve got to stay on your feet.
All it takes is one misplaced step and you’re laid up with a throbbing knee. Or maybe you wind up needing surgery from which you never quite recover. No matter how long you suffer from the ramifications of a fall, avoiding them in the first place will help you stay involved in your own life and those of your loved ones.
If you’re ready to fall proof your life, read on to determine what modifications you need to make.
Know Your Health Conditions and Medications
There are many health conditions that can result in balance issues. Additionally, there are medications that can cause you to have balance problems that lead to falls. In order to stay on your toes, manage any health conditions you may have and ask your physician for a new prescription if a medication causes you to be dizzy.
Exercising on a regular basis is key to maintaining your balance. And in the event you do fall, being physically strong will help you avoid serious injury and recover afterward. For the greatest protection against falls, you’ll want to do exercises that test your body’s balance, improve your flexibility, and increase your strength. Been out of the gym for a while? Talk with an exercise specialist to make sure your re-entry to exercise is a safe one.
If you consider clothing to be nothing more than a statement, think again. To make sure your clothing doesn’t impede your ability to get around safely, don’t wear anything that touches the floor, avoid clothing that catches at the knee and makes it difficult to walk naturally, and only wear properly fitting shoes – even when you’re around the house.
Clean the House
While falls can happen anywhere, they often occur inside your home, where you feel safest. By keeping your home tidy, you’ll go a long way toward fending off potential falls. On top of having a clean house, you should also be wary of potential hazards in your way. This means removing throw rugs or taping them to the ground with double-sided tape, not placing electrical cords in your walking path, marking raised entryways, installing non-slippery flooring, and keeping furniture positioned in a way that allows you to navigate your home with ease.
Go with Lights
No matter where you are or what age or shape you’re in, your risk for falling increases exponentially in the dark. If you’re up and about at night, turn on a light. Even if you think you know how to navigate an area without seeing, your overconfidence could lead to a painful fall. Leave a nightlight on as you sleep, carry a small flashlight if you’re walking in the woods, and don’t be afraid to ask someone to guide you along or turn on some lights if you’re making your way along an unknown and dark hallway.
Make Life Easier
Many people store items in out-of-the-way places out of habit. However, doing this could put you in harm’s way. Instead of tossing your cereal on the top shelf in your kitchen and climbing on a stool to get it down, put the cereal on a lower shelf. You should also stop trying to be a superhero by carrying all your luggage in a single load. Take a more manageable amount inside at a time. It may take longer, but you’ll stay upright, and spending extra time unloading the car is better than pain.
A Big Loss
If you don’t think fall prevention is a big deal, consider this: Nearly half of all people who fall and suffer a hip fracture as a result are never able to return to independent living.