One Senior's Opinion: As weather turns cooler, seniors should turn attention to preventing falls

On Friday, Sept. 23, Ohio senior citizens will observe the annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day. With winter just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about how to prevent falls. According to the Ohio Department of Aging: "Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans age 65 and older."

In order to prevent falls, certain steps can be taken to keep seniors safe and upright. Most of these precautions take just a measure of common sense and a little rearranging.

Keeping as physically active as possible is important. Walking, swimming, chair exercises, yoga and tai chi will help improve your balance and strengthen muscles. Removing clutter from your surroundings is a good idea. Too many things to walk over or around increases your risk of falling. Make sure throw rugs have non-skid backings. Install handrails in bathtubs and use a shower chair if you tend to get light-headed in the shower.

Keep stairs clear of clutter and keep your home well-lit. Slow down; rushing around isn't recommended even if you're in good shape. Keep an eye on where you're walking, sometimes an uneven surface can be found where you least expect it. When the snow falls and ice covers the walkways, pay special attention to what your feet are doing. If you don't really need to go out, stay home – it's not worth the possibility of fracturing or breaking something.

Perhaps you think it's too soon to be worrying about weather-related falls, but it isn't. Being aware of those things which contribute to falls now will help keep you extra cautious and upright later on.

Thanks to the Ohio Department of Aging for their words of wisdom: "Leaves are supposed to fall. People aren't."

Dianne Borowski

Dianne Borowski lives in Bay Village.

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Volume 3, Issue 19, Posted 2:51 PM, 09.20.2011