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Fear of Falling

January 2, 2016
Probably the greatest risk we face as we age is falling.  What is almost a non-event when we are young becomes a peril when we are old.  The complications resulting from a fall can be brutal, and are often the start of downward spiral of hospital visits and poorer health.  Nearly 30% of falls by seniors involve head trauma, fractures and lesions.
There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of falls.
Wear good shoes!  If your footwear is worn out, slippery or poorly fitted, it will increase your risk for falls.  Walking shoes with laces are recommended because they are less likely to slip off.
Speak to your doctor.  Some medicines produce dizziness.  Your doctor can help you with strategies to prevent falls and discuss medications, their interactions and side-effects.
Prevent clutter, especially in areas like the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Add grab bars and non-slip mats in the bath area.   Remove throw rugs.  Consider installing smooth flooring (hardwood, linoleum, etc.) which is easier to move on than carpet.
Finally, exercise is one of the most beneficial strategies.   A study at Stanford University concluded that weak leg muscles are the greatest single predictor of one going into a nursing home.  People with weak legs fall more often!

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