According to information from the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma and injury deaths in older adults in the United States. They are also the most common cause of older adult traumatic brain injuries, accounting for 46% of fatal falls.
It is important to realize that falling is not an inevitable result of normal aging. There are practical lifestyle changes you can make to ensure you age gracefully without too many mishaps.
Most falls are preventable
Some first steps for prevention should include finding a good balance and/or exercise program. It is widely known that the body’s core strength is invaluable as we age. However, many may not realize that it is never too late to start building strength and flexibility. There are many online resources available for finding the exercise program that works for a person of any age. The Ohio Department of Aging has a variety of resources available including community Tai Chi classes that are proven to help improve balance.
Also, if you are having issues with vertigo or balance and are 60 years or older, there are several specialty balance clinics in the area and some free community resources that can help.
Don’t let the fear of falling be an excuse to limit your activity or social engagements. Staying home will only lead to more physical decline, and makes you more prone to depression.
Partner with your doctor
Talking to your healthcare provider and sharing any recent experiences with falling can help set you on the right path. While talking with your doctor be certain to review all your medications and check that the side effects aren’t increasing your fall risk. Only take medications that are prescribed to you and stay hydrated.
Make certain to have your hearing and vision checked regularly, and take every precaution to keep your home safe from falls. Install additional railings or grab bars in your home, and ask your family members to do the same. Don’t let any aging stigma keep you from keeping yourself safe.
If you’re in need of a healthcare provider, contact NorthShore Primary Care for more information. Doctors Jennifer Carandang, MD, Sheila Rice, MD and Rebecca Ware, MD welcome the opportunity to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. To learn more, visit www.northshorehealthcare.com/primarycare, or call our offices in Amherst at (440) 455-3090 or Avon at (440) 653-8091.