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3 Tips to Reduce the Chances of Falls and Injuries for Boomers

3 Tips to Reduce the Chances of Falls and Injuries for Boomers

It is estimated that from now until 2030, 10,000 Boomers each day will reach retirement age. Retirement can bring on many new adventures and positive experiences. Advancing age, however, can also bring on some risks when it comes to age-related falls and injuries. This article will discuss how to avoid such injuries and truly get the most out of retirement.

Why Do Age-Related Falls Happen?

As a person ages, there are many physical changes that can increase a person’s risk for fall and injury. Here are some common age-related changes:

  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Impaired balance
  • Decreased lower body strength
  • Decreased bone density
  • Center of mass displacement (swaying)
  • Mental impairment or cognitive decline
  • Chronic health conditions

Some risk factors are situational or environmental, such as:

  • Climbing ladders
  • Hurrying
  • Running
  • Poor lighting
  • Slippery floor/bathtub
  • Stairways in disrepair
  • Cluttered spaces
  • Poorly designed spaces

How to Reduce the Chances of Falls and Injuries

Depending on the Boomer, there are many things that can be done to prevent falls. Being proactive and making adjustments to yourself or your environment now can help you avoid unnecessary pain. Here are 3 helpful tips you can use to prevent falls and subsequent injuries for yourself or your loved ones.

1) Exercise and Physical Activity

It’s never too late to get started! By exercising regularly and incorporating strength training into your weekly routine, you will build muscle mass and bone density. Increased bone density decreases your chances of fractures. Exercise helps to improve flexibility and stamina. This means you can play with your grandkids for much longer before tiring out. Joints will become less stiff, and this may motivate you to be more active in turn. Improved balance is also a beneficial result of strength training. Here are some ideas:

  • If you haven’t exercised in some time, start with brisk walking for at least 30 minutes a day. If you prefer dancing, turn on some upbeat music and dance!
  • At home or at a gym, you can perform strength training exercises to improve your muscle strength using resistance bands or a small set of weights.
  • Some older adults have found Tai Chi helpful when it comes to improving balance.
  • Pilates or Yoga is also another option for improving stamina and flexibility.
  • Physical therapy is a good option for those with persistent problems with balance and gait. Focused therapy can help correct these issues while improving overall strength.

2) Environmental Changes

As mentioned previously, your environment can increase your risk for falls. Take a look at your current living situation. Is there anything you can simplify or adjust to prevent future falls? Here are some ideas:

  • Remove loose rugs that could catch your feet
  • Place non-skid mats in your shower
  • Remove any clutter from walkways
  • Repair any damaged furniture, loose tiles etc.
  • Install handrails on stairways
  • Avoid high-risk activities, (changing a lightbulb, climbing a ladder, etc.) especially when alone
  • Make sure rooms in your house are well lit, including your entryway
  • Install grab bars in the bathroom shower and toilet
  • Avoid carrying heavy loads

3) Come to Terms with Yourself

This last tip may sound odd, but it’s vital. As many people age, they find it difficult to change the way they’ve been doing things. It can be difficult and for many they avoid making changes until they are forced to because of an injury. Don’t wait until you hurt yourself to re-evaluate what your limits are. Be aware of your limitations and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If this article pertains to a family member, gently and regularly remind them that you are there to help.

Conclusion

While aging is an unavoidable reality, falls don’t have to be. Through regular exercise, everyone, especially Boomers, can increase their strength and stability and prevent injury. Making smart changes in your environment can go a long way in preventing falls. Lastly, coming to terms with your age and abilities is important in keeping yourself safe and healthy. Remember, you want to enjoy your retirement, not spend it healing from unnecessary falls!

If you feel you could benefit from the experience of our physical therapy team, Blue Hills Sports and Spine Rehabilitation is happy to come up with a plan specific to you.

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