The biggest threat to your lifestyle, and even to your life itself, may not always be what you think it is.
Sure, you’re already on the alert for heart problems. You’re probably doing your best to avoid cancer. Maybe you’ve even memorized the warning signs of a stroke. And, of course, you know how important it is to seek help ASAP at the first sign of trouble.
But there’s another major threat out there. And it doesn’t get anything close to the same level of attention as those big-name hazards. Yet, it too could change your life in an instant. In the worst-case scenario, it could even end it.
I’m talking about falls. They’re a significant threat that grows with each passing year. Yet, they’re seldom discussed.
But new research reveals a way to dramatically cut your risk of taking a tumble, and all that follows, including painful injury, prolonged recovery, and earlier death.
The good news is the solution is a lot easier to implement than you might think.
The prevent-a-fall consult that could save your life
The numbers are terrifying. Some 3 million seniors fall every month. And a senior DIES from a fall roughly every 15 minutes.
And those are just the ones blamed directly on falls.
For many, a fall is the beginning of a decline into poor physical and mental health. A spiral that can eventually lead to early death even if it’s not technically caused by the fall itself.
But the new study shows how you can help remove yourself from those statistics. And it’s by spotting and eliminating the risk factors hiding in plain sight in and around your own home.
The new study compared two sets of seniors.
- The first group had an annual meeting with a specialist called an occupational therapist (OT). The OT discussed typical fall trouble spots in and around the home.
- The second group had an occupational therapist come into their home to directly point out potential trouble spots that could cause a tumble.
And WOW, what a difference. Group two, who got that in-home consultation, slashed their rate of falls by nearly 40 percent.
In many cases, these types of consultations are available at a very low cost. Some are even available for free, so ask around. Your doctor or local senior center may be able to help you locate one. Or search online for home care agencies that offer free fall prevention assessments.
Meanwhile, there are some changes you can make right away, without the help of an occupational therapist, to eliminate the potential fall hazards around your own home.
Taking these steps now could help keep you ON your feet… AWAY from the ER… and OUT of the morgue.
5 simple steps to slash your fall risk
First, check the walking surfaces in every room. Have someone help move furniture, so your walking path is clear. Ditch area rugs if possible, or secure them with double-sided tape to help prevent a fall. And pick up any shoes, books, papers, or anything else that’s on the floor that could present a stumbling point.
Second, note any wires or cords from telephones, lamps, cable TV, etc., that you have to walk over or around. It might’ve been easy enough to avoid them when you were younger, but now it’s just tempting fate. Tape them down securely next to the wall. And have new outlets installed anywhere you need one.
Third, check the stairs in and outside your home. Never leave any objects on them. Make sure outside steps have no-slip surfaces, especially with winter coming. And be certain both the indoor and outdoor steps are secure, even, and well lit.
Fourth, make slippery surfaces like the bathtub and bathroom floor safer by adding a non-slip low-profile rubber mat or self-sticking strips. Have grab bars installed for extra support getting into and out of the tub and up and down from the toilet.
Finally, put railings or grab bars wherever they make sense to reduce fall risk. The stairs and bathroom are no-brainers. But if you have mobility problems, consider placing them anywhere else you may need a hand, including hallways and bedrooms.
2 more tips to prevent tragic tumbles
Plus, there are two other steps you can take to cut your fall risk:
- Check your meds: Common drugs are a leading source of falls. So talk to your doc about which ones are risky. And ask if there are any meds you may be able to quit.
- Get moving: Basic balance exercises can help keep you steady on your feet so you can avoid a fall. And I’ve got some easy ones you can do yourself right here.
We can’t stop the clock on aging yet. But we can reduce the chance that we become a victim to one of its worst threats. Take these steps to slash your fall risk today.