April 26, 2019
“Safe Steps for Seniors” focuses on senior safety, particularly fall prevention. Falls can hinder an older adult's safety and independence, but they are not inevitable. Seniors can help prevent falls by doing the following:
1. Participate in regular physical activity.
Exercise makes you stronger, increases flexibility and improves balance and coordination. Here are some examples that you can do at your home.
Standing on one foot
- Stand on one foot behind a sturdy chair, gripping for balance.
- Hold for 10 seconds
- Repeat 10 times
- Repeat 10 times with opposite leg
- Repeat 15 times with both legs
Walking heel to toe
- Position heel of one foot in front of toes of other foot. Your heel and toes should be touching or almost touching
- Select a spot ahead of you, focusing on it to keep you steady as you walk
- Step forward. Place your heel just in front of your other foot.
- Repeat this for 20 steps
- Raise your arms to your sides at shoulder height
- Again, Select a spot ahead of you, and remain focused on it to keep you steady while walking
- Walk in a B-line with one foot ahead of the other
- As you walk, lift your back leg and count to 1 before stepping
- Alternate legs and repeat for 20 steps
2. Remove hazards in your home.
Make sure your path is clear and remove items that may cause you to trip such as rugs, cords and wires, books and shoes. Keep stairs clear of clutter and install handrails.
3. Review your medications regularly.
Have your physician or pharmacist looks at all of the medications you take, including over-the-counter medicines. Make sure the side effects or interactions with other medications are not increasing your chance of falling. Many medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy.
4. Have your vision and hearing checked once a year.
Poor vision and not being able to hear can increase your chance of falling.
5. Talk to your family members and enlist their help.
Family support is important for a senior's safety.