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Keep Your Health By Keeping Your Balance
Snow can make your house and neighborhood look beautiful, but this time of year can also be dangerous for aging Americans. The same snow and ice that makes the world glisten can create unsure footing which can lead to falls.
The CDC reports that one third of adults over the age of 65 suffers from a fall each year. These falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors. The medical costs of these falls add up to nearly $30 billion. The National Council on Aging estimates that these costs will increase to $59.6 billion by 2020 as the senior population in America grows.
The cost and pain of a fall is something no one wants to experience. Luckily, there are some ways to make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe this winter. Be sure that all of your senior loved ones have their drive- and walkways properly shoveled and salted.
Another important aspect of fall prevention is keeping yourself in good physical condition. The Mayo Clinic recommends walking, water workouts, or tai chi to help seniors improve their balance and enhance their muscle tone. It’s also essential that seniors wear proper footwear, especially when going out in winter conditions. If you or your loved one feel themselves falling on a winter walkway or sidewalk, try to fall toward a soft area – a snowbank on the side or the grass next to the pavement may help prevent or lessen injuries.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends that seniors take a look at their homes and eliminate common fall hazards. Homes should be clear of any clutter, to reduce the risk of tripping. Make sure all electrical cords are out of high traffic areas. If seniors own area rugs, they should be secured with tacks, slip resistant backing or double-sided tape. Keep all heavily used items (like bowls or cups) within easy reach, so that seniors do not have to strain to retrieve them. Make sure all bathrooms have non-slip mats and that there are fall bars that can aid seniors if they do lose their balance.
This year, face the winter weather with awareness and you’ll be able to enjoy the season in health and happiness.