Falls are the number one cause of injury to persons over 70. Many of those falls result in broken bones. Imagine your surprise when you break a bone simply by pushing on a stuck window or bend down to pick up something you’ve dropped.
You might have no idea how strong (or not) your bones are.
It is not uncommon in people over 55 to take an unexpected tumble off a curb or trip over an extension cord and break a bone, when 10 years earlier they would have simply sprained or bruised themselves.
One of the critical goals of managing the bone-thinning osteoporosis so common in the frail elderly is to prevent the fractures that can threaten independence, steal mobility, trigger depression, and result in pain, disability, or even death.
1. Clear your floors of clutter and any items that you could easily trip over, including loose wires, cords, and throw rugs.
2. Keep stairways, entrances, and walkways well lit, and install night lights in your bedroom and bathroom.
3. Clean up spills immediately.
4. Wear rubber-soled shoes for better traction. Avoid walking around in socks.
5. Avoid having to climb or reach for items. Keep the things you use often in easy-to-reach cabinets. You might also purchase reaching and grasping tools to get at difficult-to-reach items.
6. Add grab bars to your tub, and use nonskid mats on bathroom floors.
7. Be careful when pets are nearby. Tripping over a pet, most often a dog or cat, is a common cause of falls.
8. Talk to your doctor about whether any medications you are taking can cause dizziness, affect balance, or have other side effects that might make you more prone to a fall.
9. Find physical activities, such as tai chi or yoga, that can improve your balance, coordination, and muscle strength.
10. Have your vision checked regularly and keep your glasses and/or contact lens prescription up to date.
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