Chiropractic can protect your independence and reduce your risk of slips and falls
It’s been said that “the trick is growing up without growing old.” If you’re over the age of 65, you’ve likely pondered this notion at least once in your life, as multiple chronic conditions have become the new norm for seniors.
A senior who’s suffered an injury from a fall knows the dramatic impact it can have physically, but also psychologically. Falls can swiftly take away the sense of independence and confidence that allows one to fully enjoy life and also impact the lives of loved ones.
There are currently more adults in Canada aged 65 and older than children under the age of 5. By 2050 over 20% of the world’s population will be older than 60- that’s approximately 2 billion people! Unfortunately, falls are a common occurrence in our aging population. One in every 3 Canadians over the age of 65 will experience a fall, with hips, wrists and pelvic fractures being the most common injuries.
Reducing risk of injury and falls prevention is an important part of successful aging. There are easy tips and techniques anyone can use that help reduce the risk of injury as a result of a fall. As we grow older, our risk of falling increases and so does the risk of serious injury from a fall. Most trips, slips, and falls happen in and around the home.
Chiropractors play an essential role in successful aging for many. Chiropractic care addresses the musculoskeletal system (MSK) and helps people function and contributes to the compression of morbidity. Chiropractic can help people maintain their physical function, as well as help manage pain. This, in turn, helps seniors stay independent, avoid nursing homes/hospitalization and can provide alternatives to pain medication.
In conjunction in caring for senior Canadians, Chiropractors are committed to reducing injury and disability from falls. By following these suggested falls prevention tips, you can reduce your chances of experiencing a fall that may lead to additional injuries down the road.
Reduce Your Health Risks
Your physical health can affect your risk of tripping, slipping and falling. For example, some medications can affect your alertness, judgment, and coordination. Skipping meals and not drinking enough water can make you lightheaded and unsteady on your feet — especially in the hot summer months and after exercise. Poor eyesight can lead to dangerous stumbles. The good news is there are many simple things you can do to reduce your risk of an injury from falling.
Talk to your family physician or pharmacist about any prescription medicines, over-the-counter products or herbal supplements you may be taking. Medications and supplements can interact with each other, so it’s important to talk to your health professional about all of the things you are taking. Some medicines and supplements can cause dizziness, weakness or other side effects that may increase your risk of slipping, tripping and falling. Advice from a health professional can reduce your risk.
Eyes & Ears
Your eyes and ears protect you from falling. For example, your eyesight and hearing alert you to hazards such as traffic. Have your eyes and ears tested at least once every two years, preferably every year. Remember to take off your reading glasses when you are walking and wear hearing aids if you need them.
Skipping meals can cause dizziness and weakness. Eat regular, nutritious meals to stay alert and steady. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating is a good source of information. It’s equally important to drink enough non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages.
Foot problems such as bunions, callouses, ingrown toenails and plantar warts contribute to unsteadiness. If your feet hurt, you are probably walking gingerly to avoid the sore spots. A chiropractor can assess your gait – the way you walk – and prescribe orthotics for your shoes if needed. Always wear good fitting, supportive shoes, with a non-slip sole.
How’s our Health?
Health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, and low blood sugar can contribute to feelings of dizziness and faintness. Talk to your health professional about what you can do to manage the symptoms of these types of conditions.
Being active is one of the best ways you can reduce your risk of slipping, tripping, and falling is to improve your strength and balance. Almost any kind of physical activity is helpful – but some activities deliver greater benefits than others. Active people get more physical exercise and are more mentally alert. Social activities, sports, and clubs all keep you on the move – and that’s good for your physical strength, balance, and perception. Try to get at least 20 minutes of exercise at least three times a week – preferably every day. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living for Older Adults is a great source of information to help get you started.
Know your limits and watch your alcohol consumption. Alcohol affects your sight, hearing, balance, and judgment. Alone or in combination with medications, drinking too much can lead to serious falls.
If you have a nagging injury or pain that is keeping you on the sidelines of an active life, visit a chiropractor for the keys to growing up without growing old!