Take Steps to Ease Your Fear of Falling
Fear of falling is a concern for many older adults. And there’s good reason to be cautious.
According to the CDC, one out of three adults ages 65 and older falls each year. The CDC estimates that up to 30 percent of adults who fall injure themselves seriously enough to limit their independence and increase their risk for premature death.
Do Some Redecorating
That sounds discouraging, but there’s plenty you can do to make your home safer.
Try these strategies to lower your risk:
- Eliminate slippery rugs. Use only firmly attached or nonskid flooring.
- Arrange furniture and eliminate clutter so you have a clear path through your home.
- Firmly attach grab bars by tubs, showers, and toilets.
- Make sure handrails are tightly fastened.
- Don’t wear high heels or shoes with slick soles.
- Install adequate lighting in stairwells, hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Use night-lights.
- Remove electrical cords and telephone wires from walkways.
Build Strength to Boost Balance
If you’ve fallen before, you might think the best way to stay safe is to stay put. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the wrong approach.
Getting regular exercise will improve your overall physical condition, making you less likely to fall. Focus on strengthening your muscles to improve your balance. The gentle movements of tai chi are often especially helpful for many people. Recreation centers and senior centers are a good option for exercise classes.
Get in some exercise time without leaving your living room. Try out the Forever Fit line of home-fitness equipment from America’s favorite fitness expert, Denise Austin, sold exclusively at Rite Aid! Of course, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
“Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/CheckListForSafety.html.
“Costs of Falls Among Older Adults.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 2012. www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/fallcost.html.
“Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html.
“Preventing Falls and Related Fractures.” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent_falls.asp.
“Preventing Falls at Home,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.eldercare.gov/ELDERCARE.NET/Public/Resources/Brochures/docs/Preventing_Falls_Brochure_pagebypage.pdf.