Many people have a friend or relative who has fallen. The person may have slipped while walking or felt dizzy when standing up from a chair and fallen. Maybe you've fallen yourself.
If you or an older person you know has fallen, you're not alone. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling -- and fall-related problems -- rises with age. But did you know that folks with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have a higher risk of falls? Each year, more than 1.6 million older U.S. adults go to emergency departments for fall-related injuries. Among older adults, falls are the number one cause of fractures, hospital admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injury deaths.
Fractures caused by falls can lead to hospital stays and disability. Most often, fall-related fractures are in the person's hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand, or ankle.
Hip fractures are one of the most serious types of fall injury. They are a leading cause of injury and loss of independence, among older adults. Most healthy, independent older adults who are hospitalized for a broken hip are able to return home or live on their own after treatment and rehabilitation. Most of those who cannot return to independent living after such injuries had physical or mental disabilities before the fracture. Many of them will need long-term care.
Exercise to improve your balance and strengthen your muscles helps to prevent falls. Not wearing bifocal or multifocal glasses when you walk, especially on stairs, will make you less likely to fall. You can also make your home safer by removing loose rugs, adding handrails to stairs and hallways, and making sure you have adequate lighting in dark areas.
Here are some details about what to look for in correcting your stride and improving your balance:
I tend to think that I'm not old enough to worry about things like that - but I am old enough to prepare my body now so I don't have to worry later!