Jan 9, 2013

Posted by in General, Internal Medicine, Senior Living | 0 Comments

Slip and Slide

iStock_000015199259SmallI have kids. They fall… a lot. Some of the falls that they take would put me out of commission for a few days. I would certainly be sore and complain repeatedly to those around me. But not kids, they pop back up and move on to the next thing they have going on.

I guess that is one of the many things that change as you get older. I also don’t like heights anymore. That was never a problem when I was a kid. I guess it never occurred to me back then that I could possibly fall. It certainly occurs to me now.

Falls are the leading cause of injuries to older people in the United States. The number of falls and the severity of injury increase with age.

Falls can occur anytime, anyplace and to anyone while doing everyday activities such as climbing stairs or getting out of the bathtub. Research shows that simple safety modifications at home, where 60 percent of seniors’ falls occur, can substantially cut the risk of falling.

According to Dr. Robin Vande Voort, internal medicine physician at Pella Regional, some risk factors for falls, such as heredity and age, cannot be changed, but several risk factors can be eliminated or reduced. Maintaining good health with regular visits to your doctor and proper exercise help, but things you don’t normally think of also help. For instance, she shared that there are easy changes around your home that can be helpful.

Safety tips for your home:

Research shows that simple safety modifications at home can substantially cut the risk of falls. Protect yourself with these simple changes to prevent falls:

  • Place a lamp, telephone and flashlight near your bed.
  • Sleep on a bed that is easy to get into and out of.
  • Keep clutter off the bedroom floor.
Living Areas
  • Arrange furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms.
  • Keep low coffee tables, magazine racks, footrests and plants out of the path of traffic.
  • Keep electric, appliance and telephone cords out of walkways, but don’t put cords under a rug.
  • Secure loose area rugs with double-faced tape, tacks, or slip-resistant backing.
  • Install grab bars on the bathroom walls.
  • Keep a night-light in the bathroom.
  • Use a rubber mat or place nonskid adhesive textured strips on the tub.

All of these suggestions seem like pretty easy things to change within the home. My grandpa recently downsized to an apartment and is still getting settled in. The tips may come in handy for him!

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