Baby Boomers are facing many of the same aging challenges that their parents, the Greatest Generation, once faced.
Among them, are falls.
It may seem like an insignificant problem that only impacts the elderly, but health statistics prove otherwise. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an alarming one-in-four adults aged 65 and over fall every year, and the resulting injuries are often devastating.
One way to prevent falls, is by recognizing early warning signs and taking appropriate actions.
Let us share with you nine risk assessment questions proposed by the National Council on Aging in honor of National Fall Prevention Awareness Day, on September 23rd.
1- Have you fallen in the past year? Bear in mind, research shows that those who have fallen, are likely to fall again.
2- Do you sometimes feel unsteady when walking? Balance issues can be reduced through techniques such as exercise, assistive devices, or even changing medications. Do not wait to talk to your doctor about this.
3- Are you worried about falling, beyond being unsteady? You may be worried for good reason. Make sure to talk to your doctor for advice.
4- Do you often need to rush to the toilet? Rushing to the bathroom, especially at night, causes an elevated risk of tripping. Is your home bedroom or hallway well-lit?
5- Do you take medicines that make you light-headed or drowsy? Bear in mind, medicines with certain side effects can be switched for safer alternatives.
6- Have you been advised by a medical professional to use a walker or cane? Prescribed walking aids are a clear indication that an older adult is at risk of falling. It’s important to realize, however, that walkers, canes and other mobility devices are safety tools that support senior independence, and not a sign of weakness.
7- Is stepping up on a sidewalk curb difficult? This could be a sign of leg weakness and lack of flexibility.
8- Have you lost some degree of feeling in your feet? Lower extremity numbness can cause stumbling.
9- Is getting out of a chair difficult? Muscular weakness and perhaps weight issues are major contributors to falling.
Did you know according to this institute, a minimum of three affirmative responses indicates a legitimate risk of falling? Know that falling is not a normal part of aging. Do not forget there is never a wrong time to address these issues or meet with your elder care attorney to develop a plan for your long-term needs now, and for the future.