As you get older you can become more susceptible to falls. Feros Care’s Manager of Allied Health & Wellness, Kate Swanton, shares some tips on how to stay on our feet, be active and prevent falls.
Falls are a serious concern for older Australians. NSW Health research states that one in four older people have fallen at least once in 12 months and that of those who fell 66 per cent were injured and 20 per cent had to be admitted to hospital*. The good news is that falls can be prevented.
It’s important you do at least thirty minutes of physical activity most days. If 30 minutes is too difficult, try breaking it down into three 10-minute periods throughout the day. Not only will your body benefit from continuous movement, but exercise can also boost your social life by connecting you with others.
Being steady on your feet is crucial in minimising your risk of falls. Try gentle exercises specifically for balance such as Tai Chi or ask your GP or care provider about simple balance exercises you can do at home.
Make sure you speak to your GP or pharmacist about the medications and supplements you are taking to ensure they don’t cause you to feel dizzy or unsteady on your feet. Ask them to review your medication regime, the correct ways to store medication, and how to take them effectively.
Foot care and wear
Your risk of falling is increased if you have sore feet. Speak to your doctor about any problems you are experiencing or seek guidance on comfortable foot wear that is right for you. Also make sure that your toe nails are trimmed and healthy.
As you get older your eyesight can diminish, so it’s essential that you have regular eye tests every two years. Speak to your health fund about benefits you might receive for eye health, or look for a bulk billing optometrist.
We are what we eat.
A healthy diet plays a large part in your overall wellbeing, including your ability to move effectively or recover from an incident. Make sure you are getting plenty of dairy (calcium) for strong bones, as well as fruit, vegetables, legumes (e.g. beans or lentils) and grains (e.g. brown rice and oatmeal).
Home, Safe Home
One of the easiest and most effective ways of preventing falls is by making your home safe and free from trip hazards. Look around your home and make sure you:
– have good lighting
– remove clutter
– keep electrical cords out of walk ways
– use non-slip floor coverings and avoid laying rugs that have bumps in them or curled corners
– install aids such as grab rails.
Remember you can reduce the risk of falls, improve your quality of life and increase your longevity by adopting a healthy active lifestyle. It’s never too late to start!
* NSW Health Report Card. Falls Among Older People. Health Statistics NSW website.
Feros Care has an experienced Aged Care Advisory Team which will provide free and friendly assistance to seniors and carers. Call 1300 763 583 regarding your aged and community care questions.