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A Healthy Fear of Falling

For most people, a trip or slip here or there is no big deal, but falls can cause serious injuries for the elderly.  The bathroom can be a particularly dangerous place for seniors.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of bathroom injuries in adults 65 and up caused fractures.  For those 85 and older, nearly 40% had to be hospitalized as a result of a fall in the bathroom.  Fortunately there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of falls and head off an unwanted visit to the emergency room.

Serious falls often occur in the bathroom, so it makes sense to take a few precautions to prevent injuries.  Installing grab bars inside and outside of the shower, as well as by the toilet, can reduce the likelihood of falls.  Using non-slip mats is an easy way to make the bathroom safer for everyone.

It is important to stay in good physical shape, and activities that improve your balance, like Tai Chi and yoga, should be part of every senior’s exercise routine.  Be aware of the medications you are taking and their side effects as certain ones can increase your chances of falling.  Keep your floors clear of clutter and repair any damaged tiles or carpets immediately.  Wearing sensible shoes that fit well can go a long way to preventing falls!

For more great tips on avoiding falls, check out the Mayo Clinic’s website.