September was Fall Prevention Awareness Month. This is particularly important for Seniors; those over 65 are the most susceptible to falls. According to the National Institutes of Health 1.6 million adults are hospitalized each year for fall related injuries.
Falls can injure any part of the body but hip fractures are especially troublesome. For some seniors fractures of this type can lead to long term rehabilitation and assisted care. The better you can avoid falls the better the quality of your life can be!
According to the Mayo Clinic and the N.I.H, there are strategies we can employ to help prevent falls:
Upon awakening, sit on the edge of the bed and let your blood pressure regulate to an upright position. After a few minutes, carefully rise from your seated position.
Wear shoes that fit properly and have good anti-slip soles.
Exercise and keep moving every day, walk, garden or take an exercise class!
Eat a healty diet and carry healthy snacks with you in the event you feel a blood sugar drop.
If you are prone to vertigo, watch sudden head movements, know your “triggers”, especially tilting the head back and looking straight up.
Take your medication as indicated.
If you are diabetic monitor your glucose levels as prescribed.
If you need a cane or a walker – use it – dont let embarrassment and social acceptance stop you from being safe.
The moment you begin to feel dizzy, move slowly to a chair and sit; relax and drop your head, breath deeply and know the feeling will pass. Do NOT keep moving about thinking it will go away, your body is giving you a signal, please listen.
You can safeguard your home by:
Secure all rugs and carpeting.
Place loose electrical cords out of walk spaces.
Take care when walking, try not to rush.
Place anti-slip strips on stairs
Ensure all stairway railings are secure and well fastened.
Clean up floor spills quickly.
Install an anti-slip mat in your tub or shower and take care when exiting.
Have regular eye exams; get your prescription changed if necessary, you have to see where you’re walking!
Make arrangements to have snow and ice removed and/or salted around your residence. If you have extreme balance issues – try to stay inside during exteme icy conditions.
Strengthen your thigh muscles – if you are healthy you should have the strength to get in and out of a chair WITHOUT holding on (Please note: if you have a medical condition this does not apply). If you cannot, start slowly holding on but increasingly using your legs to pull you up until you gain strength. When I instruct my advanced classes I lead my seniors through a minimum of 200 squats per class and in my regular senior exercise class approximately 80!
If you are on a medication that makes you temporarily dizzy, limit movement during that time.
If you have a persistent fear of falling, or have numerous falling episodes, consult your physician, you may need to have a neurological and/or cardiac evaluation. You may have an undiagnosed ailment or a medication that needs to be adjusted
For more information on Fall Prevention please call The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control 1-800-232-4636 (TTY 888-232-6348) – help is available.
Be sure to watch Sharon’s Full Body and Fitness Workout on Comcast Channel’s 3, 15 and 22; Verizon Channels 24, 26 and 28. Mondays at 10a.m. and Tuesday’s at 6:30pm.
I also instuct Advanced Core and Balance for Seniors at the Malden Senior Center call 781.397.7144 for details!
Remember to take care of yourself and…