It is amazing how just one little misstep can change the course of a lifetime. All it takes is to trip on a misplaced object or to miss a stair to end up with a painful fracture that can negatively affect a person’s overall mobility for the rest of their lifetime.
Understanding the Risk Factors for Falling
The risk of falls becomes especially high for people as they age, and there are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, as people grow older, they tend to become less mobile, and the loss of muscle mass combined with a reduced sense of balance can put people at a greater risk for harmful falls and debilitating fractures. These same factors also tend to make the recovery process more difficult when people do break bones. In addition, older people are naturally more vulnerable to developing joint and bone-related conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis that in turn increase their risk of injury.
In addition, people often will also experience a decline in their sensory capacities that allow them to safely navigate the world. Reduced eyesight, hearing and overall sense of balance can easily lead to a sense of disorientation that can increase the risk of falls. In addition, common medications that are prescribed to seniors to treat other conditions often come with a host of side effects that often include dizziness and vertigo. These unpleasant side-effects will often be even more extreme if a person is accidentally prescribed two or more medications that interact negatively with each other.
While robotic joint replacements in Green Bay can allow people to live normal and healthy lives even after a major fracture, the ideal is always to be able to prevent the types of falls and accidents that cause broken bones and other painful injuries that lead to the need to visit a hip specialist in Green Bay in the first place.
Overcoming a Fear of Falling
Unfortunately, even the fear of falling can be a major problem for many seniors, even if they have never experienced a fall themselves. The fear of experiencing a debilitating accident can lead many seniors to avoid the physical and social activities that they need to maintain a healthy body weight, ward off stress and depression and maintain an overall sense of physical and mental wellbeing. In more serious cases, fear of falling can even impede a person’s ability to accomplish regular day to day tasks like picking up groceries, cooking and maintaining good hygiene habits.
The good thing is that there is no need for seniors to let a fear of falling prevents them from enjoying a full and active lifestyle. In fact, there are many simple steps that seniors can take to regain their confidence and help prevent falls in the future.
In addition, anybody who may have experienced the trauma of a fall in the past can always talk to an orthopedic doctor like a knee specialist in Green Bay for suggestions as to possible courses of treatments for past injuries or preventative measures that they can take in the future to help them regain the full and active lifestyle that they were accustomed to in the past.
So what are some basic tips that can help people of any age prevent falls and fractures? Read on to find out.
Preventing Falls and Fractures
1. Stay Active and Maintain Healthy Weight Management Practices
It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the most effective ways to prevent falls is to retain an active lifestyle that incorporates at least 20-30 minutes of low impact physical activity a day. Unfortunately, fear of falling can lead many seniors to skip out on physical activities that they once enjoyed, and this, in turn, might actually be increasing their risk of experiencing a fall in the future.
Firstly, a regular dose of physical activity is essential for maintaining both an overall sense of mental alertness and physical well being alike. Brain fog, disorientation and confusion can be major contributing factors in falls, and physical activity provides the brain with the blood flow that it needs to keep neural networks strong and active. In addition, physical activity will help create the lean muscle that will support the joints and lead to a greater sense of stability and balance.
Regular low impact cardio is a great way for seniors to maintain a healthy weight management strategy, and maintaining a healthy body weight will also make people less likely to fall in the first place.
2. Get the Eyes and Ears Tested Regularly
Hearing and vision loss become increasingly common as people get older, and this is why it is so important for seniors to get their ears and eyes tested on a regular basis to ensure that they have the aids and devices in place that they need to navigate the world safely and effectively.
However, it is also important for seniors to take it easy when they are adapting to a new sensory aid like contact lenses, glasses or hearing devices since a sudden change in sight or hearing can lead to a sense of disorientation. Always ensure that any devices are not only comfortable, but well-fitted, and be sure to wear them whenever possible during waking hours to keep the risk of falls at a minimum.
3. Properly Monitor and Manage Medications
Good medication management is essential for any seniors who may be prescribed one or more medications on a regular basis. It is important to not only take the time to understand any possible side-effects that may result in the medication but also how a person is affected by these side effects on a day-to-day basis.
Keeping a medication journal can be a good way to track the effects of any unpleasant side-effects, and will allow for easy reference should a person require a medication review. It is not uncommon for multiple medications to interact with each other in unforeseen ways, and keeping track not only of all medications but also their actual effects will help a doctor pinpoint the problem that is leading to any unpleasant or undesirable side effects like dizziness or disorientation.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Most people don’t get enough sleep at night, and this can be especially true for seniors who may be suffering from the painful effects of other conditions that affect their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
This is why it is so important for seniors to talk to a doctor if they are experiencing any difficulty sleeping. Getting a full eight hours a night can significantly help reduce the risk of falls and fractures.