Falls are unpredictable. As we age, they become potentially more dangerous. A fall can result in a wide range of serious injuries, including back injuries, broken hips or limbs or a traumatic brain injury.
Falls are especially common in the winter, when sidewalks and outdoor surfaces are often covered with a layer of ice and snow.
Let’s take a look at five effective ways to avoid falls:
- Exercise and stay active: The fear of falling prevents many seniors from staying active. Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle can make someone more likely to fall. How? Exercising and staying active can help improve balance and coordination, which can help prevent falls.
- Assess medications: Some medications can increase an individual’s risk of falling. Discuss your medications with your doctor to find out if any of them affect your coordination and balance.
- Check hearing and vision: Hearing and vision problems can increase your risk for falling. People with vision problems are twice as likely to fall than those with normal vision; people with hearing problems are three times more likely to fall than those with normal hearing.
- Remove fall hazards at home: You can’t control tripping hazards outside of your home, but you can control them in your home. Pick up debris on the floor, fix gaping carpet, install railings, and ensure proper lighting to help prevent falls in the home.
- Wear good shoes: Don’t underestimate the importance of proper footwear to prevent falls. First, ensure that shoes fit properly, offer good support, and have a good grip. Avoid heels, uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes. In the winter, ensure that boots have good traction.
Learning how to fall safely – The unconventional way
When a fall is unavoidable, it is beneficial to know safe falling technique.
Parkour is an extreme sport that involves climbing, jumping, and crawling over a variety of obstacles. While learning parkour is something many seniors would never consider, it can be a surprisingly effective way to teach people of all ages how to fall properly.
In the parkour roll, the impact of a fall is asymmetrical, as the individual rolls across the back, from the shoulder to the hips. The impact from the fall is absorbed by the muscles, instead of the spine or bones. You can find out more about the parkour roll here.
Despite what many think, falling is not a normal part of aging. Keeping these tips in mind, you can decrease your risk of falling and gain confidence in your ability to stay active at any age.