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Lessen Your Chances of a Falling Injury by Kent Elliot

According to the CDC, approximately one in four seniors – people aged 65 and older – experience at least one fall each year. Falling is considered the most prevalent cause of brain injury nationwide, and accounts for $50 billion in medical costs, 75 percent of which is paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, annually. Within the next decade, there will be approximately seven deaths each hour caused by a fall, but you can lessen your chances of becoming a statistic, and it’s easier than you might think.

Flexibility and strength training exercises improve balance.

Regardless of your current age, it’s not too late to start exercising. While most people think of exercise and fitness as simply a way to lose weight and get in shape, the truth is that exercise has many important, benefits. By performing exercises that improve your balance and strengthen your core, you give yourself a better leg to stand on (no pun intended) when it comes to being able to stand upright.

You can exercise at home, but if you are a Medicare Advantage subscriber, you likely already pay for benefits that entitle you to a fitness membership through SilverSneakers. MedicareAdvantage.com explains that SilverSneakers offers more than 13,000 fitness centers throughout the country, so you’ll have no trouble finding a gym with classes and equipment that are just right for you.

Clutter is a concern for more reasons than one.

You already know that hoarding is exponentially dangerous to people living in squalid conditions. However, even common clutter can pose a health risk. Clutter can come in many forms, from books piled up on the floor to an excess of furniture. Every unnecessary item you have in your home is a potential tripping hazard. Further, as Caring Transitions explains, clutter can burden the senior financially and may possibly lead to mold.

If you have an excess of items you don’t need, it’s best to part with those you aren’t emotionally attached to. If you are not yet ready to let go of your belongings, or don’t have time to sort through them, you can rent a small storage unit for less than the cost of a haircut. For approximately $24 per month, you can rent a 5'x5 unit', which is perfect for clearing the clutter out of a small bedroom or the living room.

Visual cues can help you navigate more easily.

Declining eyesight is one reason that seniors are at a higher risk of falling than their younger counterparts. If you have stairs in your home, create contrast between steps. For example, wooden steps can be painted alternating colors to help you differentiate them from one another. Similarly, added light throughout the home can help to illuminate potential issues, such as electrical cords, loose carpeting, and low-lying furniture.

It’s more difficult to fall when you have proper footwear and a mobility aid.

Slippery surfaces, such as a wet kitchen or bathroom floor, increase your chances of falling. Wear non-slip shoes when you are on these types of surfaces and don’t be shy about using a cane or walker, which can help steady you as you move around. A mobility device can increase your stability without slowing you down both at home and when you’re out.

Other things you can do to reduce falls at home include

  • Install handrails on the stairs and grab bars in the bathroom
  • Keep your bedroom and bathroom on the lowest floor
  • Install a no-rise shower (these are often wheelchair accessible)
  • Add nightlights to the hallway and kitchen
  • Slow down and take your time when walking

If your goal is independent living throughout your senior years, every step you can take to lessen your chances of injury improves your ability to live at home. Simple things, such as decluttering, exercising, and removing tripping hazards can make all the difference

Created By
Kent Elliot
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