For older adults, falling is the leading cause of accidental death. Seniors are more likely to fall, and the falls are more likely to cause setbacks in their long-term health. Consumer Reports recently offered advice for older adults about how to prevent falls.
Prevention ideas you can work on today
Some suggestions from Consumer Reports (CR) for preventing a fall may take planning and a longer-term commitment. Others are relatively simple measures you may be able to start immediately.
The right footwear can save a life
“Sensible shoes” used to be an insult, but even today’s high-fashion designers are making shoes for people to walk in. You can find shoes you love.
CR reminds us to choose shoes with nonskid soles. They should fit well, meaning comfortable without so much “give” that they slide around you as you walk, change direction, go up and down stairs, etc.
Slippers are cozy, but they are usually bad performers. Flip flops, CR says, fall off too easily, fold over and catch on rugs.
Relaxing and observing your surroundings
Strangely enough, too much fear and anxiety over falling can make you more likely to fall. Instead of worrying about falling, CR suggests you focus on your surroundings.
As you walk, notice where you put your feet and consider how you will steady yourself. Observe whether there is a handrail, whether the stairs are narrow or have loose carpeting. If you watch and think, CR reminds us, you are likely to do fine.
Movement is important to your health, and bad health increases your risk of falling. CR’s message is to get out, get around and watch where you are going.
Making simple changes to your home
CR recommends conducting a thorough survey of your home with an eye for what might cause a fall.
Look for slippery floors, uneven rugs, bad lighting, loose steps or handrails and bad lighting. Many fixes to these problems are inexpensive and might save your life or that of a loved one.