(StatePoint) Slips, trips and falls that cause injury and death are all too common, and they disproportionately affect older people. Indeed, one-third of older U.S. adults suffer falls each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, a fear of falling can alter habits, negatively impacting one’s quality of life.
Fortunately, many such falls are highly preventable. Changes in vision, balance and muscle strength that can occur as one ages can be addressed, and other external risk factors can be prevented.
Regular exercise is important for maintaining the physical strength and mobility needed to reduce the risk of falls. Taking classes to improve balance, such as tai chi, has also been shown to reduce the risk of falls.
Many community centers and fitness clubs offer classes designed for older individuals, so be sure to consult your healthcare provider for an exercise routine that is appropriate for you.
“Set a reminder to get regular health screenings for bone density, vision and other fall risk factors. Staying aware of these physical changes and adapting to them, can help you remain healthy and independent,” says Carrie Nie, director, Safe Communities America, National Safety Council.
“Most falls happen at home, so it’s important for individuals, caregivers and loved ones to focus on keeping the home free of safety hazards that increase the likelihood of falls,” says Nie.
Installing grab bars, additional handrails and extra lighting can make it easier to maintain…
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