Stay Independent Longer

Independence is a positive attribute that we all strive for and as we get older it can be tough to maintain the same sense of independence we once had. Many seniors experience setbacks with their personal independence when they have a health scare, injury or mobility issue. One of the main precautionary steps seniors can take to avoid circumstances that might hinder their independence is to follow preventative slip and fall techniques.

North Metro Fire Rescue and the Broomfield Senior Services Center see slips and falls as one of the most common injuries to seniors throughout the community. Many times these accidents occur in a moment when seniors are not thinking about the safest way to go about a particular task. In order to prevent slip and fall related injuries, seniors can use the following safety tips to keep themselves out of harmÕs way and living a longer life of independence.

Make sure to identify any potential areas within your home that could cause a slip and fall accident. Dangers could be an area rug that could make you trip. Always buy area rugs that have skid proof backings or that are tacked to the floor.

Bathrooms create a high risk for injury and you should take caution in getting in and out of a bathtub or walking across a wet floor. Provide yourself added assistance by installing railings in your bathroom or a seat in your bathtub.

Realize the importance of proper footwear. Do not wear worn out shoes or footwear that is too flexible. Size definitely matters when it comes to wearing properly fitted shoes Ð if shoes are too big they can be a burden to walk in Ð if theyÕre too small they can cause unwanted foot conditions such as calluses and corns, which could lead to foot pain when walking, increasing the risks of falling.

Always turn a light on when getting up in the middle of the night. It is best to make sure there is a light switch or lamp close to your bed.
Use a cane or walker if you feel unsteady outdoors on sidewalk cracks and curbs.

The weather can be unpredictable in Colorado. To avoid slipping on ice, carry a plastic bag with kitty litter or ice melt to toss on the ground. This can be helpful when getting in and out of your car or when you are taking a walk.

If you fall but do not injure yourself, don’t assume that you must restrict your activities. Too little activity can cause you to lose strength and coordination, putting you at greater risk for another fall. Most senior centers offer exercise classes and fall prevention classes to help maintain muscle strength and balance.

North Metro Fire Rescue also encourages seniors to take the following steps if a slip and fall occurs.

  • Do not panic. Assess the situation and determine if you are hurt.
  • Slide or crawl along the floor to the nearest couch or chair and try to get up.
  • If you cannot get up, call for help.
  • If you are alone, slowly crawl to the telephone and call 911 or relatives.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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