Falls at any age can be serious, but for older people with brittle bones, it can be disastrous. Many never fully recover from breaking a hip, which is common in older adults. Because they can’t take care of themselves independently anymore, they end up going to an assisted-living facility where there is someone to care for them.
So the best way to reduce the risk of breaking a bone is to eliminate the sources of falls in the first place and to keep bones as strong and healthy as possible so if a fall does occur, maybe the bone will still be resilient enough to prevent breaking.
Outside of some medications that can make people dizzy, confused or slow, most falls are caused by the following:
Tripping: Most falls due to tripping are caused by loss of footing. Rugs sliding out from underneath them is one of the most common. Ensure rugs have skid-proof backs so they grip the floor better. If the floors are slick, avoid walking in socks as they can slide on the surface causing you to lose your balance. Keep clutter off the floor as it can become a tripping hazard.
Losing one’s balance: As we age, we become more unsteady on our feet making it easier to lose our balance. Ensure your shower or tub has grab bars to hang onto. Use a non-skid bathmat outside of your tub or shower. If you have stairs, have railings on both sides if possible. Use a cane or walker to give you extra stability if unsteady on your feet.
Poor muscle strength: Not only do our bones get weaker as we age, but so does our muscle strength. Keep your muscles as flexible as strong as possible by engaging in daily exercise. Stretching, yoga and Pilates are all good for keeping muscles flexible. Light aerobics and strength training will help keep them strong.
Reduced vision: As we get older, our eyesight isn’t what it was when we were younger. To counteract poorer vision, make sure your glasses are up-to-date with your current vision prescription. Make sure indoor lighting is bright. In the case of it being too dark, add lighting in the areas where necessary. In cases where it is too bright, like sunlight shining in through a window, add shades or denser curtains to tame down the light.
Keep your bones strong by eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Your doctor may even prescribe medication that can make your bones stronger if they think your bones are weaker than they should be.
Getting old is not easy, but by doing the things suggested in this article, you should be able to reduce the risk of falling and keeping your bones as strong as possible as you age.