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If you or someone you know has fallen, you are not alone. Every year falls occur in more than 30% of adults over the age of 65.As we age the risks associated with falling, such as fractures and other trauma, grow more serious.In fact, falls are the main cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors 65 and over. The consequences of these falls are not just physical. Fear and depression are the two most common outcomes of these injuries, which are further exacerbated by the loneliness and isolation that many seniors experience.
While a healthy and active lifestyle is the backbone of a solid fall prevention plan, here are some other elements that can substantially reduce the risk of falling:
- Mindfulness Through Meditation
Meditation is the practice of focusing one’s attention through breathing. This calming and empowering practice helps to harness your busy mind on one point making you more mindful of your presence and how you manage your body. Deep breathing is also an integral part of meditation and works to calm the mind and body. Great beginning meditation examples can be found on YouTube. You also have the option of visiting your community center or even a Buddhist temple. Both places are great resources for starters.
- Yoga & Physical Therapy
Yoga is a gentle, yet powerful and effective way of managing your health, even for senior citizens. The practice reduces anxiety and depression, calms stress, and helps to combat a host of other ailments. Yoga also makes you feel more connected and in tune with your inner self. By becoming more aware of your body’s limitations and strengths, you will feel more confident not just walking through your home but in the world at large. It is highly recommended that you communicate with the instructor prior to class about any concerns you may have in order for the yoga teacher to modify any poses that might seem challenging. With more practice, you will gain strength, flexibility and confidence. If yoga isn’t enough, consider working with an experienced physical therapist to strengthen your core and improve overall mobility. A physical therapist can help pinpoint your strongest and weakest part of your body, create a plan for any conditions you may have, and implement treatment techniques specific to your situation.
- Vision Assessment & Maintenance
An up-to-date eyeglass prescription and well fitting glasses are key components to optimizing your overall health. Regular eye check-ups are crucial to avoiding falls and other injuries. Bifocals can present challenges so utilize caution if using this particular type of glasses. If you are using light to dark or tint-changing lenses, be mindful that this can be dangerous. The best solution is to simply change your glasses upon entering an indoor space.
- Overall Home Set-up
When it comes to reducing risk of a fall, household orderliness is enormously important. Your home should be a safe haven where you feel clean, comfortable and happy. Make sure to keep your house free of clutter and objects lying about. Furthermore, your home should be well lit and easily accessible. If you are unable to clean things out yourself, a one-time service from a professional organizer can do wonders in establishing a truly safe home. They are easy to find online on yelp.com or even napo.net (the National Association of Professional Organizers).
- Health Check: Side Effects of Medication
Certain medications have side effects such as dizziness and blurred vision, which can increase your risk of falling. Make sure all your medication, specifically new medication, is assessed every time you visit your doctor. Make sure someone you trust is also aware of any new medication you may be taking. Communicating clearly with your family, friends and medical professionals about your health and what medications and/or supplements you take is incredibly important.
Overall, the key to success is to be mindful and in the moment. Be Active Be Well
DISCLAIMER: This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.