Seniors have more opportunities for entertainment than ever before, and residents at Cambridge Court can choose from a full list of enriching activities, including social events, educational classes and sightseeing outings.
Keeping fit and healthy can go a long way toward increasing the enjoyment of everyday pursuits. While some health concerns may be out of your control, you can reduce your risk of injury due to a fall by making a few simple lifestyle changes and becoming more aware of your surroundings.
According to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, falls were the top cause of injury for adults over 65 years of age from 2012 to 2018. While not all injuries were fatal or even serious, all caused some degree of pain and required time to heal. By understanding why you may be more likely to fall and learning how to avoid falls, you may be able to prevent future problems.
Falls can be the result of an object in your path (miniature dachshund), a risky endeavor (ladder work) or simply a freak accident (unstable surface). While falls can occur at any age, some physical and mental changes that come with aging can make it:
• Easier to slip, trip or stumble
• Harder to recover balance
Eye conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts or other age-related vision disturbances, can affect your depth perception, night vision and peripheral vision, causing you to misjudge the height of steps or the nearness of a chair.
Episodes of vertigo or dizziness can make it almost impossible to walk straight and navigate around objects.
Numbness or tingling in the feet due to diabetes, past injuries or strokes can make it difficult to feel the floor or lift the feet while walking.
Healthy individuals can often recover from a routine trip or stumble by catching themselves and supporting their body weight on one leg. Unfortunately, muscle mass and strength peak in the mid-twenties and begin to decline as we age, leaving many older adults too weak to stop a fall in progress.
Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can provide relief for countless problems. However, many medications have side effects that may increase your chances of a fall by reducing alertness or lowering blood pressure. Some of the more common culprits include antianxiety drugs, certain antihistamines, sleeping pills, antipsychotics and antidepressants.
A fall doesn't always mean an injury. Sometimes, you pick yourself up and get on with your day. However, the older you get and the more falls that occur, the greater your chances of an injury. In addition, some conditions can increase the likelihood of a fall injury.
• Osteoporosis is a disease that results in weakened bones. As a result, fractures of the spine, hip and wrist are common.
• Lack of flexibility can contribute to joint damage during a fall.
• Blood-thinning medications can increase the risk of bleeding, both internal and external, after a fall.
While you may not be able to change your fall risk factors, you can find ways to reduce your chances of a fall. Learn how to make your life fall-resistant, from adapting your living areas to changing your attitude.
Walk around living spaces looking for any objects that might cause you to stumble. Some culprits include loose rugs, uneven carpets, electrical cords and slippery floors.
Explore your area at night as well to eliminate blind spots; consider placing night lights in the bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
If possible, have someone install grab bars in the bathtub, shower and toilet area. Residents of assisted living communities can usually count on specially designed floor plans with all the necessary bathing aids.
Because it's much easier to prevent a problem than to recover good health, see your doctor regularly and schedule yearly eye and ear checkups. If you have foot pain or difficulty trimming toenails, visit a podiatrist.
Always let your doctor or a staff member at your senior community know if you feel dizzy, weak or unsteady on your feet.
Attend exercise classes and, if possible, regularly walk around the grounds and hallways of Cambridge Court.
If your doctor wants you to use a cane or walker, you may want to ask a therapist if you are using it correctly. Don't forget to take it with you on your daily walks.
Hurrying can make you clumsy, so give yourself plenty of time to get places. If you're out with family or friends, let them know you need a little extra time. Nothing is so important that it's worth getting hurt.
As much as you want to be independent, sometimes it's wiser to ask for help, especially if the chore involves reaching up high or standing on step stools.
It's a good policy to give yourself a pause before changing from a sitting to a standing position, especially first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. This is also the perfect time to thank God for the gift of a new day.