1. Remove Fall Hazards
When we’re younger, we don’t think of our homes as hospital-visit hazards. But as we age, it’s important to lay out our living spaces in ways that are easy to maneuver and help ourselves and our loved ones avoid a fall. To help reduce the risk of falling, consider the following steps:
- Remove mats and area rugs, or secure with non-slip material
- Repair loose tiles or bricks
- Eliminate clutter from walkways, such as garden hoses, toys, stray shoes, etc.
- Move low furniture out of walkways
- Wear sensible, comfortable footwear
2. Look Around You
There’s no avoiding it — as we age, our eyesight just isn’t what it used to be. That means we’re more prone to tripping on unseen objects, cracks or rugs. This is especially true at nighttime or in unfamiliar places.
In an effort to avoid falls, always make sure that your prescription lenses are up to date. Try to be extra mindful of your feet and walkways, especially in new places. And install some nightlights around the house so you don’t trip over Fluffy in the middle of the night.
3. Bend Your Knees and Elbows
There’s no way to completely avoid falling, so it’s important to know how to fall when you do.
When you start to lose your balance, your instinct might be to extend your arms and try to catch yourself. But this can easily lead to a broken hand or wrist. It’s so common, in fact, that doctors have a name for it: FOOSH, or “fall on outstretched hand.”
So when you start to fall, don’t freeze up with your hands in front of you. Try to keep your elbows and knees bent. If you must fall with your hands in front of you, make sure to absorb the impact with your entire palm and forearm — not just your hands — which may reduce your risk of a broken bone.
4. Land on Muscle
If you’re not using your hands to catch yourself, what should you use to break your fall? It may sound counterintuitive, but try to fall on your muscles.
Landing on your buttocks, back or thighs may decrease your likelihood of breaking a bone. Not only do “meaty” parts of the body have fewer bones, they also have more area to absorb the impact of a tumble.
5. Protect Your Head
One of the most crucial parts of falling safely is making sure your head doesn’t hit the ground.
If you fall backward, round your back and tuck your chin in an effort to reduce the risk of your head bouncing against the ground. If you fall forward, turn your face to the side.
6. Go With The Fall
Once again, this tip goes against all of your instincts: when you start to fall, relax.
Refer back to tip one. Oftentimes, it may be bracing yourself that leads to broken bones. When you feel yourself losing balance, relaxing your muscles and allowing yourself to fall may reduce your risk of injury.
For a more detailed article about fall hazards and how to reduce them, see our Six Tips to Help Prevent Falls.
The above content is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.
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