Chevy Chase and Dick Vandyke made a living at falling down. They perfected the fall as part of their comedy routine. However, when we fall, it is not very funny. It doesn’t matter what age you are. Each of us will trip and fall several times over our lifetime. As children, we fall learning to walk or run. As adults, we fall because of carelessness. As Senior citizens, we fall because of a lose of balance.
What can we do to protect ourselves from getting hurt? According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, one out of three individuals will fall once a year from the age of 65 and up. This percentage goes up as our age grows. Most falls occur during the months of December through March. This is because of the winter season.
There are three major factors in preventing a fall for a Senior citizen. They are exercise (leg strength), balance of the body, and vision. These are the three areas that Seniors need to concentrate on. Stronger legs mean better body support. Balance, which can be affected by medication. Vision, using good lighting, glasses and contacts are important in watching where we walk.
So what preventions can we take to protect ourselves from falling?
First and foremost, watch where you are walking. Use hand rails if they are available. Avoid throw rugs. Wear good foot wear that grips the floor. Keep both hands free for balance, not in your pockets. Do not carry things up and down stairs. Take small shorter steps to help maintain your balance. Keep your eyes focused on where you are walking. Test slick areas with your feet before stepping on the area. Step slowly when exiting a car or building. Avoid all icy areas. If you must walk on an icy walk, use salt first to loosen up the ice.
What to do if you start to fall.
Young people or told to roll as they fall. However, older individuals usually can’t do this. If you fall backward, tuck your chin into your chest. This will keep you from hitting the back of your head. Use your hands to help break your fall. Try to quickly lower your center of gravity. Drop your hips.
Once you have fallen, do not get up quickly. Lay there for a few seconds unless you are on a roadway. Get your senses about you first. Then slightly move each limb to see if you have been hurt bad. Either sit up slowly, or turn over on all fours. Place your strong foot under you first. Place both hands on that knee and slowly lift yourself up slowly. Survey your area. You do not want to fall again. Do not be afraid to yell for help, if you need it.
Once you get back inside your home, check your body for bruises and apply ice immediately. Seek medical help if you need it.
Nobody wants to fall. However, we all do. As we grow older, always prepare for the unexpected.