For Seniors: Eight Tips to Keep You Safe from Falling


For people aged 65 and above, falls are an ever-present hazard. Falls may cause fractures, sprains, bruises, head injuries, and even death. Even when falls don’t end in death, they can cause disability. Every year globally, some 37.3 million falls are serious enough to require medical attention. In the USA, a quarter of older people fall every year.

As a senior, what might lead you to fall? It could be poor vision, loss of balance due to age, muscle weakness, medications that cause dizziness or weakness, slower reflexes, inappropriate footwear, and unsafe surfaces. You may also suffer from postural hypotension, a sudden drop in blood pressure that occurs when one rises from a lying or sitting position.

Falls have the potential to rob you of your independence and limit your movement. Actively work to prevent falls by doing the following:

  1. Strengthen your bones 

Eat calcium-rich foods like green leafy vegetables; fatty and bony fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna; and low-fat and no-fat dairy products. The body also needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, liver, and oily fish. Sensible exposure to the sun helps the body to produce vitamin D. If need be, you may take omega 3, calcium, and vitamin D supplements.

  1. Stay active 

Being physically active makes your body strong. Improve your heart condition by walking, hiking, swimming, and other aerobic activities. Lift weights to strengthen your muscles and improve your balance by doing exercises like one-leg stands. Perform strength and balance exercises at least twice a week and stretch after aerobics and lifting weights to improve flexibility.

Staying active goes a long way in preventing falls. If you have a condition that limits physical activity, consult a doctor and work with a physiotherapist to tailor your exercises to your needs and ability.

  1. Wear non-slip footwear

Make sure your footwear has rubber, non-skid, and low heels. Avoid backless, ill-fitting shoes. If possible, keep away from laced shoes. Laces may become untied without you realizing it, exposing you to the danger of tripping and falling.

  1. Review your medication

Depending on the medications you take, at least once a year, visit your doctor for a review. Some drugs may cause confusion, drowsiness, and dizziness, increasing the risk of a fall. Also, if you are on medication, consult your doctor before taking any supplements, as these may counteract with drugs you’re already taking.

  1. Have your eyesight checked

Poor vision puts you at risk of a fall. You may miss a step or misjudge distance and that puts you in danger of a fall. It’s best to have your eyes checked annually for any disease and to update your prescription for eyeglasses.

  1. Make your home safe

  • Create clear pathways for walking in your home.
  • Keep frequently used items within reach so you don’t need to step on anything to reach something.
  • Secure and tuck away all cables and wires to eliminate tripping. Use non-slip mats in the bathroom and the kitchen to prevent slipping.
  • Clean up spills immediately.
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom and handrails in the stairways. These help with movement and in raising and lowering your body.
  • Make sure all areas of your home are well lit so that you can see clearly. Have a bedside lamp for use if you need to visit the bathroom at night.
  1. Always get up slowly

When getting out of bed, sit on the edge of the bed for about a minute to regulate blood flow. And after getting up from a sitting position, wait a few seconds before you start moving, just to get your bearings. This way, you will eliminate a sudden drop in blood pressure that causes light-headedness and can lead to a fall. If you need to, use walking aids.

  1. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol affects balance and reflexes and this could result in falls. Alcohol also causes impaired judgment and might lead you to make poor decisions that could endanger your safety.

Final thoughts

It’s important to avoid falls. If you fall often, you could develop a fear of falling, which in turn could make you reduce your movement. This would make you weaker and at an even greater risk of falling. So, exercise to strengthen your muscles, take care of your bones and make your home safe and live without fear of falling.



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