There are few things that strike fear into the heart of older adults like the thought of slipping or tripping and landing hard. 30% of people over 65 have one or more falls per year, and many of those can be prevented. Did you know that most falls happen in the home, while doing routine daily activities? Sarah Graham, a physiotherapist with Proactive Seniors, shares some advice to lessen your risk.
Here are 5 tips for preventing falls:
1) Keep moving! Aim to meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults 65 years and older. Each week, try to complete 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercises, such as walking, swimming, or cycling; complete 2 days of strengthening exercises; and 2 days of balance exercises.
Free online fitness videos are available at: https://findingbalancealberta.ca/online-fitness-videos/
To learn more about the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, visit: https://csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_0-65plus_en.pdf
2) Be aware of your indoor surroundings! Remove any potential tripping hazards from your home. Common tripping hazards include throw rugs, extension cords, and shoes in your entryway.
3) Be aware of your outdoor surroundings! Ensure the walkway from your car to your doorway is maintained and level. In the winter, have a plan for shovelling and salting your walkway frequently. Leave your outdoor light on if you will be arriving home from an outing after dark, poor outdoor lighting can increase your risk of falls.
4) Use a walking aid! If you feel unsteady on your feet, use a cane or walker to improve your balance. A physiotherapist or occupational therapist can help determine the right walking aid for you.
5) Be mindful of your footwear! Unstable footwear is a very common cause of falls, especially slide-on slippers and sandals. Look for footwear that wraps around your heel, has anti-slip soles, and fits snug but comfortably.