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Don’t Fall for Anyone

Don’t Fall for Anyone

Don’t Fall for Anyone

It’s February, the month of romance, and people are out there falling in love. But this blog isn’t about the good kind of falling, because getting older isn’t always wine and roses.

I’m going to throw some stats at you.

• If you’re over 65, you’ve got a 1 in 4 chance of injuring yourself in a fall this year.
• One out of every five falls causes a fracture or head injury.
• More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually sideways.
• Women fall more often than men, accounting for three quarters of all hip fractures.
• Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults—to the tune of about 36 million falls each year.

Considering that the entire Baby Boomer generation will reach that age within the next decade, falls rates and health care spending are projected to rise exponentially, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Even when falls don’t result in injury, they tend to have long-lasting consequences. Many people limit their activities and social engagements for fear of falling, which can lead to physical decline, isolation, depression, and a host of other limiting behaviors.

All a normal part of aging, right?

Actually, it’s not! Falls don’t have to be a part of normal aging. In fact, you can reduce your risk in lots of ways.

The first step is to talk to your doctor about fall risks and prevention, especially if you’ve already fallen or you feel unsteady. You could have a health condition that’s contributing to your balance problems, or perhaps one of your meditations causes you to feel dizzy. Herbal remedies and alcohol can have this effect as well.

Make sure your vision is as good as it can be. Many falls occur because of poor eyesight resulting from the wrong eyeglass prescription, cataracts, a decline in peripheral vision, or macular degeneration.

And have your feet checked. Discuss proper footwear with your doctor and ask whether seeing a podiatrist would be helpful.

Second, stay physically active. Exercise to strengthen your legs and improve your balance. Resistance training with weights or bands and exercises that improve reaction time, coordination and flexibility are ideal.

At Meadowood, our Fitness and Wellness team offers several classes to improve balance, including tai chi, yoga, mat Pilates, and the national award-winning FallProof™ Balance and Mobility program, which offers activities specifically designed to address the factors that contribute to balance and mobility, and target the risk factors associated with increased fall risk.

And third, make sure your home is safe by getting rid of tripping hazards like area rugs that aren’t secure and clutter on the floor. Treat icy patches on walkways and driveways, and make sure both indoor and outdoor lighting are sufficient. Add grab bars in the bathroom, and make sure all your handrails on steps are secure.

Don’t wait until you take a tumble to think about fall prevention. Take action now, and by next Valentine’s Day the only falling you’ll be thinking about is falling in love!

Until we meet…