Seniors and Elderly: Tips To Live At Home SafelyPosted on September 10, 2014 by ElderCare Resources Phoenix in Blog, Education, Independent Living, Senior Safety
Aging safely in your own home
The single most frequent reason that seniors seek home care is that there has recently been a fall. If the senior was lucky, there was no injury. However, what seemed like a minor fall can sometimes result in a severe injury such as a fracture of the hip, pelvis or femur requiring a hospitalization that can lead to other debilitating health problems.
Until it happens to you, most people do not contemplate falling down. Why would you? Walking is such a normal part of life that until we have an injury or a surgery, we take it for granted. However, smart planning for aging safely in your own home requires you to give fall prevention some thought. Balance declines with age, and many factors contribute toward making older adults susceptible to falls.
These include: Impaired hearing and vision; General loss of muscular strength and tone; arthritis; osteoporosis (many people think osteoporosis is only a problem for women past menopause, but it can also affect older men); vertigo; cerebrovascular insufficiency; neurological disabilities such as a past stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or dementias; postural hypotension (sudden decrease in blood pressure). Sometimes a newly prescribed medication may cause dizziness.
Doing things like getting together with friends, gardening, walking, or going to the local senior center are important for staying healthy. The good news is that there are simple ways to prevent most falls. By taking care of your overall health, you may be able to lower your chances of falling.
In general, you should stay physically active within your abilities, but also seek to gently challenge your abilities so that you maintain them. Regular walking improves your muscle strength, and keeps your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible. Yoga is wonderful anti-aging medicine. Seniors are able to maintain and improve their strength, balance and flexibility through yoga classes or functional movement exercises.
It can be useful to consult with a physical therapist to receive an exercise prescription that is suitable for current state of strength and health. The therapist can identify areas of weakness and imbalance that you are able to strengthen through specific exercises.
A fall prevention assessment from a trained professional will provide you with the information you need to plan for either minor or major adjustments to your home.