Be Prepared for Life — Four Steps All Seniors Should Take to Prevent Falls and Minimize Their Impact

Yes­ter­day at a hol­i­day gath­er­ing I heard one more vari­a­tion of an all-too-famil­iar sto­ry.

Dr. A, still a prac­tic­ing physi­cian in his mid-sev­en­ties, fell in his show­er and was lying help­less, unable to get up or sum­mon aid.

For­tu­nate­ly, he was an old-fash­ioned fam­i­ly doc­tor – his patients could always speak to him direct­ly dur­ing the 8–9am hour that he reserved for phone calls.  Sure enough, when at 8:10 his phone rang and rang with­out an answer, one of his astute patients knew some­thing was amiss – Dr. A would nev­er miss a patient call.

She phoned the police, who were able to enter his home and bring him to the hos­pi­tal.

The sad truth is that 30–35% of seniors over age 65 fall each year.  And falling can result in severe neg­a­tive con­se­quences, leav­ing you in pain, rob­bing you of basic life abil­i­ties (such as walk­ing), has­ten­ing brain dete­ri­o­ra­tion, and lead­ing your health rapid­ly down­hill.

Be prepared.

There are four steps you need to take to pre­vent falls and min­i­mize their neg­a­tive impact should they occur.

1.    Strength­en your bones

Every­one knows that tak­ing sup­ple­men­tal cal­ci­um is a good idea to ensure a health­i­er skele­ton.  Extra vit­a­min D helps too.  But the nutri­tion­al sup­port need­ed to main­tain good bone den­si­ty is far more com­plex – it involves bal­anc­ing your body’s acid­i­ty.

2.    Strength­en your mus­cles and bal­ance

A com­mit­ment to sys­tem­at­ic strength train­ing has innu­mer­able ben­e­fits for seniors – and for every­one else, too.  Main­tain­ing mus­cle mass helps avoid weight gain, improves car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, pre­vents dia­betes, boosts your mood, and keeps your hor­mones in bal­ance.

Make sure to incor­po­rate bal­ance exer­cise too.  That way you’ll strength­en the small sup­port­ing mus­cles of the feet, legs and spine while stim­u­lat­ing the brain and reduc­ing your chance of a fall.

3.    Get rid of boo­by traps in your home

Area rugs and run­ners with loose ends are respon­si­ble for many trips and falls in the home.  The bath­tub is a dan­ger spot too.  Here are some oth­er tips.

4.    Get a med­ical alert but­ton

In case you do fall, you want to get med­ical help as soon as pos­si­ble.  A delay of even a few extra min­utes could have a major effect on your abil­i­ty to recov­er from an injury, stroke, or heart attack.

The solu­tion that works for most peo­ple is a per­son­al med­ical alert but­ton. You wear one around your neck or on a wrist band.  If you fall or if there’s anoth­er emer­gency, you can sum­mon help sim­ply by push­ing a but­ton.

Stud­ies show that seniors who have a senior alert sys­tem in place live hap­pi­er and health­i­er in their own homes for up to six years longer than their con­tem­po­raries.

Prepar­ing for the con­tin­gen­cies of life makes good sense at any age.  Tak­ing these four steps will make a major con­tri­bu­tion to the well-being of any­one enjoy­ing his or her senior years.

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Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

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About Aaron Bynen

Aaron is a health conscious individual living in the Pacific Northwest.

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