If You Fail to Pre­pare, You Pre­pare to FALL

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News - By Dr. Steven Hei­dinger, Moose Jaw Chi­ro­prac­tor

That ti­tle is not a typo.

Hope­fully, the re­cent dose of snow is not an in­di­ca­tor of an early and long win­ter. ‘Tis the sea­son to be merry is a few months away, but ‘tis the sea­son to slip and fall is on the hori­zon.

Here are some sta­tis­tics that may wake you up to the im­pact that falls have on our el­derly (from Sta­tis­tics Canada):

· Each year, one in three se­niors aged 65 years and older are likely to fall at least once;

· Falls are the most com­mon cause of in­jury among older Cana­di­ans;

· Falls are one of the lead­ing causes of in­jury-re­lated hos­pi­tal­iza­tions among se­niors; · Over one-third of se­niors who are hos­pi­tal­ized as a re­sult of a fall end up in longterm care.

As a chi­ro­prac­tor, I of­ten see peo­ple af­ter their falls. If they don’t end up in emer­gency with a frac­ture or head trauma, they are likely to show up in my of­fice. Even with­out an in­jury that re­quires a hos­pi­tal stay or a cast, falls can be a lead­ing cause of dis­abil­ity in se­niors.

An­other in­ter­est­ing fact is that many se­niors un­der­es­ti­mate their risk of fall­ing. In do­ing so, many of the el­derly take on ac­tiv­i­ties with­out man­ag­ing their risk. Prime ex­am­ples are not re­spect­ing how slip­pery a set of stairs may be, not turn­ing lights on when go­ing down­stairs, and not con­sid­er­ing how slip­pery bowl­ing shoes re­ally are be­fore hit­ting the lanes. The op­po­site is true as well, in that too many times the risk of fall­ing is over­es­ti­mated. Se­niors are of­ten too para­noid to leave the house for six months of the year. Be­ing this overly pro­tec­tive from fall­ing can keep peo­ple away from ac­tiv­i­ties that help them stay stronger, im­prov­ing one’s sta­bil­ity and strength.

“If you fail to pre­pare, you pre­pare to fall.”

Prevent­ing falls from hap­pen­ing is the best way to deal with falls. There are some strate­gies most peo­ple (and not just the el­derly) can do to limit their risk of fall­ing, no mat­ter what time of year.

Ex­er­cise. If your doc­tor says your heart and lungs are strong enough, ex­er­cise to in­crease your leg and hip strength, and flex­i­bil­ity, can make you more sta­ble. If you don’t know what to do, or how to ex­er­cise, a phys­io­ther­a­pist, a per­sonal trainer or your chi­ro­prac­tor can of­fer ad­vice.

As­sess your own home. Too many falls oc­cur in the place you ac­tu­ally feel the most se­cure. Folded bath­room mats, slip­pery hard­wood, and a soapy bath­tub are just a few things that in­crease risk of fall­ing. The el­derly of­ten get up in the mid­dle of the night to use the toi­let. Light­ing up the ar­eas you move around can make you more aware of your sur­round­ings.

Drugs. I don’t mean the il­licit ones, I am re­fer­ring to the ones you are pre­scribed. A com­mon cause of fall­ing is dizzi­ness. Dizzi­ness is a com­mon side ef­fect of pre­scribed med­i­ca­tions, es­pe­cially when there are in­ter­ac­tions of mul­ti­ple drugs. Your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist should be made aware if you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dizzi­ness. Footwear. Choose the proper footwear for in­side and out­side your home. Tread, qual­ity of fit, and height of heel are a few things to look for in a shoe.

Don’t be one to add to the sta­tis­tics. De­vise a strat­egy to limit your risk of fall­ing this year and for years to come.

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