AVOIDING SLIP AND FALLS WHEN YOU’RE 55 AND OLDER
Being 55 years old is surely is not as old as 55 used to be. Now at 55 you can be fully employed, if that be your pleasure, and looking forward to many more productive years. You can volunteer, exercise, travel, participate in sports or,even go off in your own direction toward something you never anticipated.
While enjoying this journey of life, there can be the occasional bump in the road. You can slip or trip and fall, upsetting the grandest of plans.
Each year millions of older adults fall. One of out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or head injuries, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Home and Recreational Safety. This study also reported that each year at least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures, and 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually sideways.
Injuries from a fall can impact your ability to do your everyday tasks and activities. Serious falls can impact your ability to continue to live alone. Often times, older adults have a fear of falling and that in itself can make them less active, and thus, potentially weaker, which could actually increase the chance of falling.
Here are some examples of risk factors that can make you more susceptible to a fall:
‒ Difficulty walking and balancing
‒ Use of particular medicines and prescriptions
‒ Hazards such as broken steps, cracks in sidewalks or driveways, clutter, throw rugs, debris in the yard, snow and ice, tree roots
Here are some things that can help you prevent falls:
‒ Talk to your doctor about the prescription drugs you take to be sure you don’t encounter side effects which might affect your balance. A physician may be able to provide you with some strengthening and balance exercises to make you stronger.
‒ Make your home safer by eliminating clutter that can interfere with your walking areas and steps. Some examples include side rails, brighter lights and the installation of grab bars in your bathrooms.
‒ Consistent maintenance of your yard to remove debris and fall hazards such as downed tree branches or snow and ice.
So what do you do when you have a fall that takes you out of the game, hopefully only for a short period? First, last and always, if you have been injured do all that you can to get better. If you have a primary care physician, talk to him or her. Explain all of your symptoms. Never leave something out because you think it might be unimportant. Follow all of the instructions given by your physician. Were you told to get blood tests? How about x-rays? An MRI? Follow the directions of your doctor, as only by getting the tests that the doctor recommends can you obtain the best treatment and, hopefully, the best outcome.
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This is not intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.
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