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Aging in Place Safely: How to Lower Your Risk of Falling at Home
Many seniors want more than anything to age in place. After spending decades creating memories in your home, living out your golden years in that environment is something to strive for. But if you want to age in place, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to ensure you do so safely.
As you experience the physical changes and health conditions that come with age, your risk of injury-causing falls increases exponentially. You don’t want the fear of falling to control your life or dictate your happiness, but you do want to remain cognizant of how you can prevent falls as you get older.
Below, the Municipality of Rhineland has listed some practical steps you can take to lower your risk of falls in your home—from seeing your doctor to making home modifications to maintaining an exercise routine.
Get Regular Exams
Before you do anything else, you should make an appointment with your primary physician. This might include a check-up exam, so prepare for several questions your doctor may ask.
For instance, you’ll need to be able to describe all of the medications you’re taking; that way your doctor can assess any potential side effects and interactions that could leave you more at risk of falling. Your doctor may also ask you if you have ever fallen before. If so, you’ll need to describe when, where, and how you fell, along with any other relevant details.
Modify Your Home
Many seniors who age in place make at least one modification to their home to ensure safety. Not only will making the necessary modifications allow you to live more comfortably, freely, and safely, but it can also boost your home’s resale value. For instance, you might consider installing a zero-step entry or putting down non-slip mats throughout the home. You might also install grab bars or a shower chair in your bathroom.
Something else to consider is that if you have carpet or shaggy rugs, you may want to make a change. High-piled carpet and fabric can increase your chances of falling, and a low-pile carpet, hardwoods, or laminate flooring can accommodate your needs as you age.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Diet is important for everyone, but it is especially critical when you get older. Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated each day. Look for foods that are rich in calcium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, a healthy senior diet is often made up of staples like fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and lean proteins.
Prioritize Your Sleep Habits
Sleep problems are prevalent among seniors. But your mind and body must be able to rest and recharge if you’re going to live safely and happily at home. Limit your caffeine intake after lunchtime, and avoid any foods that could cause heartburn or indigestion at night.
Also, figure out relaxing activities that you could incorporate into your nighttime routine to unwind and prepare your mind and body for sleep. If none of these tips work, speak with your doctor about safe medication options.
Lastly, improving your strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance can go a long way in lowering your risk of falling. You may not be able to do some of the activities you did in your twenties, but there are plenty of exercises that you can incorporate into your routine to increase your safety and boost your all-around health.
For example, going for a 20-minute walk through the neighborhood could do the trick, as can water aerobics or tai chi. If you are not interested in these activities, a little research will reveal many gentle exercises that will not put too much strain on your joints.
Living at home in your golden years is a commendable goal. But you must ensure that you can live safely and comfortably if you decide to age in place. This might include making an appointment with your doctor, having your home modified, changing your diet, getting better sleep, and coming up with a fitness routine. But don’t stop here. Keep looking for other ways you can improve your health and safety so that you can get the most out of your life as a senior.
Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about our municipality? Visit RMofRhineland.com today!