The National Institute on Aging says, "More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year." These falls are often life-changing. A broken bone, a stay in the hospital or weeks of physical therapy can follow.
But there are some simple ways to minimize your chance of falling.
1. To begin with, talk to your health care provider about your medications. Many can contribute to dizziness, confusion or other factors which could make you unsteady.
2. Aging causes new problems, but you can be prepared despite getting older. Foot problems from diabetes, slower reflexes, muscle weakness, gait issues-- all of these can be improved with the diet, exercise, or medical care. Stay as active as possible.
3. Dress sensibly. Find supportive shoes, hem up too-long pants, and don't walk around in stocking feet.
4. Take a look at your home. Eliminate slippery throw rugs and anything blocking a pathway. Put more lighting in dark spots and have a flashlight handy. Get rid of the clutter!
5. You can keep your independence, but still get help when you need it, either from handy tools like reach sticks or by asking a friend or family member to do the little chores that call for a step stool.
And if you do take a tumble, tell your doctor. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) says that falling once increases your chances of falling again, but many people never report this to a health care professional.
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