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Seniors want to remain active and healthy, both physically and mentally, for as long as possible. As you age, the risk of falling increases for various reasons, and physical changes to your body make falls far more dangerous than they were when you were younger. Bones that have become brittle, and changes to your brain, increase the risk of life-changing or even life-threatening injuries.
The increased risk of falling arises from numerous factors:
- Muscle strength declines;
- Balance and gait become more unsteady;
- For some people, blood pressure drops suddenly when you get out of bed;
- Reflexes that slow down;
- Vision problems, such as glaucoma or cataracts;
- Confusion, for instance if you wake up at night;
- Medications that cause dizziness.
Reducing the risk of falling should be a multi-step plan. Seniors, and their adult children, can address these issues in a number of ways.
First, a healthy lifestyle is key. Physical activity, healthy eating, and social interactions are all important to remaining physically fit and mentally “present” and safe in your surroundings. You don’t need to be an athlete to go for a walk after dinner, and it can make a noticeable improvement in your mental and physical state.
Second, think about taking steps that will specifically address your increased risk of falls. That could include an exercise regimen that can improve balance, such as tai chi. If your blood pressure tends to drop suddenly when you rise from a sitting or lying position, be cautious in these situations. If you are taking a medication that causes dizziness, you can attempt to plan your activities so that you take it only when you will not need to be physically active.
Being aware of the risks, and remembering to pay attention to them, can help avoid falls and injury. If, for example, you need to get up in the night to use the bathroom, remembering to focus on being wakeful, aware, and conscious of the need to be careful even before you get out of your bed, can help avoid problems. Night lights can be helpful to illuminate the path to the bathroom or kitchen.
Third, there are steps you can take in your home that will reduce the risk factors for falling. Smooth surfaces are easier to walk on and you’re less likely to trip. Avoid throw rugs, or at least tape them down so they don’t move and you don’t trip on them. Keep other tripping hazards such as books, shoes and other objects off the floor. Make sure hallways and stairs in particular are well-lit. Wear comfortable, flat shoes. Think about adding rails in the house where they would be useful, and grab bars in the bathroom and shower.
Addressing these issues and making changes where needed, can help you remain in your home as long as possible. This is an important goal for millions of seniors. One of our objectives as Elder Law attorneys is to help you protect your money and property, and plan for your long-term care, so you can achieve this goal. Taking proper and effective legal steps to protect your assets will help you stay in your home, and maintain your normal lifestyle, far longer than would otherwise be the case. Contact us to find out how it works. You can also visit our website, www.lamson-cutner.com.