As we age, our ability to care for ourselves begins to diminish. This happens slowly at first. Bruises start to last longer or small cuts take longer to heal.
These issues become even more pronounced as people age.
A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) revealed that just over 100,000 people aged 65 and over were hospitalised due to falls in 2014–15.
People over the age of 65 accounted for 30 per cent of injury cases in Australian hospitals, with the majority of these being for falls.
Fall-related injuries can range from minor to severe. They include hip, pelvis, or vertebrae fractures, which often require major surgery to repair.
The recovery process following a severe fall can lead to depression as well as a complete loss of physical and financial independence, making fall prevention an important consideration.
Regular exercise under the care of a physician or physical therapist along with vitamin D supplements will strengthen the body, increase stability, and help prevent falls. If mobility is a major issue, changing your home to reduce fall hazards is also a good idea.
This can include adding handrails and seats to showers, placing non-slip mats on slippery surfaces, removing rugs that could present a trip hazard, and just generally decluttering your home.
Burns are also a common injury among older adults due to increasing problems with balance, vision or memory issues.
Some of the best ways to prevent burns or the potential for a fire in the home is to make sure the house is properly fitted with fully-operational smoke detectors and to change the batteries regularly.
On top of this, you should also keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen area as well as having a fire escape plan, should the worst situation ever eventuate.
What steps have you taken to make your home safer as you age?