Now that September is here, the fall season is right around the corner. In fact, on the 23rd of this month, the summer season will officially give way to autumn. Because autumn paints the world in brilliant shades of red, brown and gold, it’s a season to celebrate. However, for seniors, “fall” can take on a different meaning. The slippery leaves and wet weather increase the risk of falls.
According to MyHealth.Alberta.ca, “every year, thousands of older adults fall and hurt themselves. Falls are one of the main causes of injury and loss of independence in people ages 65 and older.”
What steps should be taken by seniors in order to prevent falls this forthcoming fall season?
Make sensible shoe choices and care for your feet.
Arguably, the first step to fall-proofing your fall is to wear proper footwear. With summer ending, it’s time to ditch the flip flops in favour of shoes that provide solid traction. Opt for rubber-soled, non-skid shoes with low heels and snug fits. As well, consider shoes with Velcro straps or buckles for added stability. When heading outdoors, make sure your shoes are also weather-appropriate. Wear rain boots with good grip or shoes with waterproof soles.
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority also stresses the importance of improving your foot care. “If you have any foot pain or foot problems, see your doctor or podiatrist,” they advise, “Have your nails cut and deal with corns, calluses, bunions and ulcers. Maintain good circulation in your feet, ankles and legs by doing foot exercises every day. Examples of foot exercises are moving your toes up and down, and turning your ankles in a circle.”
Clear away the fallen leaves.
While fall foliage is stunning, it can also be a hazard. When walking outdoors, especially in wet conditions, be extra cautious on sidewalks covered in fallen leaves. They can become surprisingly slippery. Take your time, watch your step and consider using a walking stick or cane for added stability. If you have a yard, keep it clear of leaves and debris to reduce the risk of slipping on your own property.
“All those leaves, acorns, pinecones, branches add up to clutter that can cause a slip, trip and fall,” warns Access Sports Medicine, “Break out the rake, roll out the wheelbarrow, and get to work. And this isn’t limited to home residences. Consider trails and common areas where foot traffic occurs.”
Stay active and exercise.
Maintaining good physical health is essential for preventing falls. Engaging in regular exercise can improve balance and strength. Activities like yoga, tai chi or water aerobics are gentle on the joints and can enhance your stability. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen. You may also want to consider working with a physical therapist to tailor a program to your needs.
“Exercise regularly to improve your strength, muscle tone, and balance,” recommends MyHealth.Alberta.ca, “Walk if you can. Swimming may be a good choice if you cannot walk easily.”
Manage your medication and have your eyes checked.
In some cases, the medications we take can affect our balance and coordination. Be aware of any potential side effects of your medications and discuss them with your doctor. If necessary, adjust your medication dosages. Be sure that you are taking medications as they are prescribed to maintain your overall health. This can indirectly help prevent falls.
Remember, as well, that eyesight plays a vital role in maintaining balance and avoiding falls. Regular eye check-ups are essential to ensure your prescription is up to date. Corrective lenses, when needed, can significantly improve your vision and reduce the risk of tripping over obstacles.
Stay hydrated and well-nourished.
Proper hydration and nutrition are fundamental for good health and balance. Dehydration can lead to dizziness and falls, so make sure you’re drinking enough water. Think seven to eight glasses of water per day. As well, a balanced diet rich in nutrients can help maintain your strength and energy levels. Make sure to include a lot of raw fruits and vegetables in your daily eating routines.
“You may get dizzy if you do not drink enough water,” alerts MyHealth.Alberta.ca, “To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. Choose water and other clear liquids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.”
Ensure that your outdoor walkways are well-lit.
You usually don’t trip over what you can see in front of you, right? While the leaves may have been cleared, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the steps leading to your home are easy to see. Especially for seniors with vision impairments, it’s imperative that the front of your home is well-lit. This will help older adults to clearly see in front of them, avoiding any tripping hazards.
“Take a quick peek before you leave your house and be certain to turn that exterior light on,” suggests Access Sports Medicine, “Why? Well, the days grow shorter by the minute once fall arrives, and, before we know it’s dark when we leave the house, and dark when we leave work. Dark terrain obviously leads to the prospect of a fall, so please, do your part to light the path.”
Fall-proof your bathroom.
The bathroom is one of the most common places for falls to occur. Slippery surfaces are commonplace even when they aren’t wet. To prevent falls in the bathroom, install grab bars in the shower or bathtub and next to the toilet for added stability. Consider using non-slip mats or adhesive strips to prevent slipping on wet surfaces.
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we offer a wide variety of high-quality bathroom safety products. They include commodes, bath seats and bath boards, transfer benches, grab bars, toilet safety frames, bath lifts, and accessible tubs and showers. Our team always ensures that you have the complete picture to make an informed decision. You’ll know all of the possible options so you can choose which solution is best for you.
To learn more, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!