We’re told our whole lives to get out and get moving, and this is especially important as we age. Although regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of injuries from falls, exercise safety is essential. For seniors, a fall can be a life-changing event or the start of a downward spiral. Once a fall occurs, additional falls are increasingly likely. Therefore, we share some tips on ways to prevent falls, especially when outdoors.
Plan your route
Science Daily shows that 48 percent of falls among older adults occur outside. If you are walking in a neighborhood, do a trial run first. Bring a friend, look for uneven sidewalks and other potential obstacles, and adjust your route if necessary. Approach grassy areas with care. Early in the morning, grass may be slippery if wet with dew. Additionally, it is tougher to see holes or dips in a grassy yard, so it’s best to walk on flat surfaces, like a sidewalk or driveway.
Wear appropriate attire
When walking outside, appropriate footwear is essential. Sandals may be cute and comfortable, but they aren’t the best for safe walking. Instead, wear a close-toed shoe with a rubber sole that offers a moderate amount of support. Stay away from slip-on shoes and those with extra thick soles, as they may present a safety hazard.
Proper eye protection is also important for outdoor safety. In bright sunshine, wear protective lenses that enable you to see your surroundings without succumbing to the glare of the sun.
Don’t be afraid to use assistance
If you normally use a walker indoors, be sure to take it along when walking outdoors. Even if you don’t use a walker in the house, it may be beneficial to use one for extra support when walking outdoors. If you tire easily, a rollator with a seat may be useful – just be sure to set the brakes firmly before sitting down. Outdoor terrain can be unpredictable, so don’t hesitate to use a cane, walking stick or even a ski pole for extra stability.
Slow down and take your time
Be sure when you head out for your walk that you have plenty of time. It’s probably not the best time to go for a walk when you have a doctor’s appointment in an hour. Give yourself plenty of time and the ability to sit for a moment or two if needed. If walking is a challenge, start with short walks and build up your endurance. You’ll want to get back home or to a bench before you get too tired. Walking in a park is a nice way to ensure a path with options to rest often. A walk should be a source of joy, not stress, and allowing yourself enough time will help make that happen.
In our blog “Fall Prevention Tips” we offer additional advice for preventing indoor falls. Combining these ideas makes a great strategy for keeping safe and fall free altogether. If you wish to discuss how an in-home caregiver can assist with safety issues, please feel free to contact us and speak with one of our experienced staff members.