Fall prevention is a growing topic among older adults and caregivers. Assessing the risk factors of a fall and taking precautions for fall prevention can make a significant difference in the likelihood of a fall occurring.
“Risk factors for falls can be broken down into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic.” Intrinsic risk factors for falls include elements such as age, gender, the use of certain medications, and existing medical conditions. Extrinsic risk factors involve environmental hazards. These hazards may include loose flooring, electrical cords, stairs without handrails, or poor lighting.
At McClellan Senior Living, a senior care community in Anniston, Alabama, we take fall prevention seriously. We have gathered tips and exercises that can help you prevent a future fall and improve your balance and strength.
Tips for Fall Prevention
Having to dodge clutter, especially in high traffic areas of your home, makes it more likely for you to lose your balance and fall. Keeping your home organized and clean is the easiest method of fall prevention. When your living space is free of clutter, it makes it easier to see where you are walking and can move about your home safely and with ease.
Repair or Remove Tripping Hazards
Loose carpet, rugs, or floorboards lead to tripping, compromising your balance, and leading to a fall. Securing rugs and carpet or replacing floorboards that stick up are essential and straightforward steps for fall prevention. When navigating through your home, you should not have to be on the lookout for flooring tripping hazards constantly.
Install Grab Bars or Handrails
Safety devices, such as grab bars and handrails, are a crucial part of fall prevention. Having something to hold on to when stepping in and out of the shower or ascending a staircase contributes to your overall stability in a major way. Even if you lose your balance, you are able to catch yourself before you fall.
Make Flooring Non-Slip
When flooring is wet, such as a shower or bathtub, it can be extremely dangerous and a slipping hazard, increasing your chances of falling. Install non-slip mats in restrooms and other slippery flooring areas (like in front of the kitchen sink) for fall prevention.
Light Up the Living Space
When a room is dark, you may not see that the rug is turned up in the corner or that there is an obstacle in your path, making it a possible tripping hazard. In dark areas of your home, add more lighting, and use nightlights so that you can navigate better throughout the night.
Exercises to Improve Balance
A great way to improve your strength and balance is by marching in place. When starting, you may need to hold onto a chair or countertop.
To do this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift one knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Pause here, avoiding leaning and keeping your back straight, and lower your foot back to the floor. Repeat with the other leg.
Also known as the “tightrope walk,” this exercise can significantly improve your balance. To perform this exercise, first, fix your gaze on an object in front of you. This will help with your stability. Next, place one foot directly in front of the other, touching the heel of one foot to the toes of your other. Repeat with the other side and take 15-20 steps in this fashion.
Rock the Boat
The “Rock the Boat” exercise improves both balance and strength. Begin this exercise by evenly distributing your weight between both feet, hip-width apart. Keeping your shoulders squared and your torso level, shift your weight to one leg and lift the other. Hold this pose for as long as you can and lower your leg back to the floor. Repeat this motion on the other side.
Fall prevention is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy and safe lifestyle, and improving balance and strength goes a long way in preventing injuries that can be caused by a fall.
McClellan Senior Living fosters an environment that promotes a healthy, active, and independent lifestyle. We encourage you to contact us for more information on our community, services, or how we promote health and wellness.