As the weather starts to warm up, many of us are looking forward to spending more time outside. However, with summer also comes an increased risk of slips and falls. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults aged 65 and older in the United States.
While there are some steps that you can take to prevent falls, such as wearing proper footwear and using a cane or walker, sometimes they are unavoidable. However, there are still things that you can do to keep yourself safe.
Here are some safety tips to prevent slips and falls this summer:
- Stay hydrated.
Dehydration can cause dizziness and lightheadedness, which can lead to falls. Be sure to drink plenty of water when it’s hot outside and avoid alcohol, which can also contribute to dehydration.
To keep yourself hydrated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults drink:
- 8 to 12 cups of water per day
- 16 ounces of water before and after physical activity
- more if you’re sweating heavily
- Wear proper footwear.
Wearing shoes with good traction can help prevent slips and falls. Avoid wearing flip-flops or other shoes that don’t provide adequate support. When choosing shoes, look for ones with a firm sole and good arch support.
- Use caution when walking on wet or icy surfaces.
Wet or icy sidewalks and parking lots are one of the most common places people slip and fall. If possible, avoid walking on these surfaces altogether. If you must walk on them, take your time and be sure to wear proper footwear.
Some other tips to prevent falls on wet or icy surfaces include:
- Walking with your feet pointed outward (not inward) to help keep your balance
- Taking small steps
- Keeping your hands free so you can use them to catch yourself if you start to fall
- Be aware of your surroundings.
When you’re out and about, pay attention to your surroundings and be on the lookout for potential hazards, such as uneven sidewalks or loose carpeting. For instance, if you’re walking in a parking lot, be sure to look out for potholes or other obstacles. And, if you’re walking in a store, be aware of spilled liquids or other obstacles that could cause you to slip and fall.
- Use a cane or walker.
If you have balance issues, using a cane or walker can help prevent falls. If you’re using a cane, be sure to hold it in the hand opposite the side that needs support. And, if you’re using a walker, be sure to keep it at arm’s length in front of you.
- Get your vision checked.
Poor vision can lead to falls. Be sure to get your eyes checked on a regular basis and update your glasses or contact prescription as needed.
- Stay active.
Exercising on a regular basis can help improve your balance and coordination, which can help prevent falls. Talk to your doctor about what types of exercise are safe for you to do.
- Make your home fall-proof.
One of the best ways to prevent falls is to make your home fall-proof. Some things you can do to make your home safer include:
- removing tripping hazards, such as loose rugs or electrical cords
- installing grab bars in the bathroom
- adding railings on both sides of stairways
- increasing the lighting in your home
- Ask your doctor about fall-prevention programs.
There are a number of fall-prevention programs available that can help you stay safe and prevent falls. These programs typically include a combination of exercise and education. Ask your doctor if there’s a program in your area that’s right for you.
- Know your risk factors. Some people are more likely to fall than others. If you’re over the age of 65, have a history of falls, or have certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease or arthritis, you’re at an increased risk for falls. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to reduce your risk.
The Bottom Line
Falls are a common occurrence, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be prevented. By taking some simple precautions and being aware of your surroundings, you can help reduce your risk of falling. And, if you do happen to fall, knowing what to do can help minimize the risk of injuries.
If you or someone you know has experienced or are experiencing frequent falls, Sainte Anne’s Companion Care is a premier provider of Companion Care in Valley Stream, New York. We specialize in homemaker & companion services that will keep your loved ones safe, independent and aging gracefully from home. Contact us at (718) 717-3177 today to learn more about our services or to schedule a free in-home consultation on our website. We’re always here to help!