One in three people over 65 years have a fall in any given year, and falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions for people over 65 years. Here are some simple strategies to minimise your risk:
Aim for thirty minutes of physical activity every day. Regular exercise improves balance, strength, mobility and reaction time, and can reduce the risk of injury following a fall. Our on-site physiotherapist can assist with advice on gentle exercises to suit your fitness level.
Maintain a healthy diet, especially eating foods for good bone and eye health. There is a reason our in-house chefs include fresh vegetables, leafy greens and calcium rich dairy. Drinking sufficient water, especially in hot weather, but also in winter when our surroundings are heated is also important.
Maintain your eye health and visual acuity by scheduling regular check-ups with your Optometrist. Vision loss can decrease your ability to judge distances and depth, and to cope with sudden changes in light levels or glare. When moving from outdoors to indoors allow adequate time for your eyes to adjust to the different levels of light. Vision Australia (1300 84 74 66) can arrange a low vision assessment and assist with low vision aids.
Care for your feet and nails by consulting a podiatrist. As we grow older our feet can change and lose some feeling, changing the way we walk and affecting balance. If you have painful or swollen feet, tingling or numbness, or suffer from bunions, corns or calluses, a podiatrist can assist. Comfortable, firm-fitting, flat, shoes and slippers with rounded, low, broad heels and slip-resistant soles that grip are a wise investment.
The reality is that as we age our reaction times may become slower, making it more difficult to concentrate on several things at one time. Health problems such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, low blood pressure and dizziness all increase the likelihood of a fall. If you’ve had the flu or surgery recently your risk of falling increases. So be sensible and recognise your limitations. Stand up slowly after lying down or sitting, take care when bending down and steady yourself before walking. If in doubt, ask for help!
For more information, The Macular Disease Foundation Australia provides detailed fact sheets on fall prevention and low vision. http://www.mdfoundation.com.au