VALUABLE FALL PREVENTION TIPS
- Resist believing the myths about aging. We tend to think that falls are inevitable as we get older, that aging is a process of getting weaker and going downhill and that inactivity is a natural part of it. These myths are only true if we do nothing about it. And there is so much we can do.
- Improve your physical abilities: Increase the strength of your legs, feet and core; increase the flexibility of your legs, feet, hips and spine; improve your eye/balance coordination and practice balance exercises. Exercising your feet or abdominals always improves balance. Make sure to stretch the back of your legs. Develop Leg Fitness.
- Keep active. Exercising is not enough. Extended sitting is also a problem. Every hour of extended sitting reduces blood flow by as much as 50%. That effect is eliminated if for every hour of sitting we get up and move around for 5 minutes. If you can’t stand up then do a few movements in a seated position. Lower back and foot exercises are ideal as are leg stretches.
- Learn how to stabilize your balance whenever you feel dizzy or disoriented. Focus your eyes wherever you are facing if you feel unsteady. Pull your abdominals in to gain control of your balance.
- Don’t expect your balance to be good in the middle of the night when you have to get up and go to the bathroom. Our balance is at its worst in the middle of the night. The bathroom is a frequent fall site. It is a time to use all precautions. Use your walker, put on backless shoes instead of slip ons, have a handhold from the bed to the bathroom, have automatic lighting in your bedroom.
- If you get dizzy or disoriented, find out what causes it and do something to improve the situation. If you get dizzy turning your head then turn it slowly while focusing your eyes. Remain still for several minutes after changing position if you get light headed standing up. Keep your head upright position as much as possible, even if you have to tilt over to pick something up. Getting Suddenly Dizzy.
More valuable recommendations that can save you:
- Whenever you look up, ALWAYS hold onto something first.
- While walking, look where you are going instead of looking down. Pick your feet up. Do not walk and talk at the same time. Become more aware of your surroundings. Where to Look When You Walk.
- Never wear backless shoes or slippers. A majority of fall related hip fractures happen to people who are wearing slippers or slip ons at the time of the fall.
- Do not rush unless it is urgent. Answering the door or phone is not urgent.
- Beware of the legs of chairs. Chair legs are so easy to trip over. Especially for someone frail who goes to stand up and walk around their chair.
- There are many environmental factors that cause falls. Have your home checked for fall hazards. Keep your apartment clutter free. Install grab bars, especially in the bathroom.
MOST FALLS ARE CAUSED BY SOMETHING FOOLISH. If you improve your physical abilities these common mistakes have much less impact. If you take balance classes consistently you will be much less likely to fall PERIOD.
Last Christmas a student stepped on her grandson's toy and was headed for a fall when instead she stepped aside, grabbed a piece of furniture and DID NOT FALL. She learned how to do this from Building Better Balance.
Improve your balance safely at home. Building Better Balance is a set of hour-long DVD classes that teach you how to age well through exercise. Powerful lessons show you how to get stronger and more flexible as you get older instead of the reverse. You learn how to make your balance better and prevent having falls. Fabulous exercises and information help you to have your golden years be your best years.