I joined a balance class that meets two days a week in the active retirement community where I live. It seemed like a good idea since my doctor tells me I have osteopenia, the stage you go through before osteoporosis.
With the class, I hope to improve my agility and prevent a fall where I might break a hip. My mother suffered that, as had her 94-year-old grandmother some 40 years earlier. In both cases, the broken hip was just the first part of a downward spiral leading to death.
Here’s an article that my mother wrote for the online site Squidoo back in 2009. Before Christmas in 2012, Mom slipped on a throw rug at someone’s home and broke her hip. After hip replacement surgery, she was in rehab and hoped to go home in a few weeks. Unfortunately several heart attacks followed and she died at age 88.
Advice for Seniors – Avoid Falling at Home
A while back, I took a tumble at home and really gave my leg a whack. Fortunately it wasn’t broken, but it sure hurt. Falls can happen to anyone, but when you’re older, it gets more dangerous.
I’d taken some precautions, but here are a variety of things you can do to avoid falling at home. No matter what your age, you need to remove tripping hazards from your home. The tips I provide here are targeted to the elderly, but others can benefit as well.
I’d already removed most of the throw rugs in the house. Those are notorious for slipping underfoot or getting an edge flipped up for you to trip over.
Change Your Behavior to Avoid a Fall
- 1 – When you get up from sleeping, sit for a minute on the edge of the bed. That lets you get oriented and more balanced when you stand.
- 2 – Don’t leap up and dash for the phone. Keep a cordless phone at hand by your chair. Then you won’t be breaking your neck just for a recorded sales pitch. If you don’t have a cordless phone, take your time getting to the phone. They will leave a message or call back if it’s important.
- 3 – When you carry things, be careful that they don’t block your view of the floor.
- 4 – Don’t stack things in normal walkways. Put things in a corner, a closet, or up on a chair. Don’t walk around without turning on a light at night.
- 5 – If you use a laprobe to keep out the winter chill, be very careful not to get tangled in it. Totally unwrap it from your legs and put it aside.
Health Tips That Prevent Falls
- 1 – Know about any precautions you should take with your medicines. Does your blood pressure medicine make you a little woozy? Read over the paper the pharmacy gives you with the medicine. If you take more than one medicine, ask the doctor or the pharmacist to be sure they don’t interfere with each other.
- 2 – Ask your doctor to do a balance assessment on you. They can do this at most health fairs too. If your balance needs improving, there are simple exercises you can do.
- 3 – If you are supposed to use a cane or a walker, don’t be too proud and independent to use it. Remember, safety first.
- 4 – Have your eyes checked every year. Maybe you aren’t seeing everything that you need to.
- 5 – Don’t go too long without eating. Skipping regular meals can make you light-headed and apt to fall.
If you are thinking of a Life Alert to wear in case of falls, you might be put off by the monthly monitoring fees. This one doesn’t require that, so is much more affordable. The button connects you directly with 911, so no monthly service fee. Peace of mind.
More Tips – Use a Cane If You Are Unsteady
Don’t be too proud and risk a fall
Don’t lock the bathroom door.
If you have a fall in there, no one can get in to help you.