November 03, 2010
A nasty spill can cause serious injury and disability, especially for the elderly. In fact, studies have shown that about 1 out of 10 falls can cause broken bones, head injuries, bruising, and even make it harder to move around. Fortunately, by taking a few simple steps, you can prevent falls for yourself and the ones you love.
When a person falls, it's usually because of small hazards that are easy to miss. And most of the time they're easy to fix as well. Things around the house such as area rugs, children's toys, papers, cords, wires, and even pets can cause you to stumble or lose your balance. Do a home inspection.
Removing these items from high-traffic areas and keeping floors free of clutter can lower your risk of falling a lot. Also, make sure your stairways are clear, have handrails, and are well lit. And never go anywhere at home if you can't see where you're going.
For a handy checklist, visit www.cdc.gov/ncipc/pub-res/toolkit/CheckListForSafety.htm
Talk to your doctor about medicines or conditions that might cause you to fall
Physical activity can lower the risk of falling by boosting strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and endurance. Physical activity can be as simple as gardening or walking the dog and doesn't have to be planned. Exercise, on the other hand, is repetitive and structured. Things like tai chi or aerobics are two great ways to exercise while lowering your risk of falls at the same time.
Exercise also helps you manage and prevent some diseases. It can boost your overall mood and help prevent depression. Above all else, find something you love doing and make it part of each day.
Talk to your doctor about what exercises or physical activities are best for you. Your doctor can also examine your muscle strength, balance, and how you walk.
Other steps you can take to keep from falling:
Remember: talk to a doctor, tidy up at home, get active. With the right steps, you can lower your risk of getting hurt by falls and spills
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