Living independently in our homes can become more difficult as we get older. Each year, millions of people aged 65 and older will fall. More than one out of four older people fall each year. Falling once doubles the chances of falling again. There are several things people can do to decrease the risks of falls in their homes.
Falls are a Leading Cause of Injury for Older Adults
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the injuries resulting from older persons falling are staggering:
- In 2020, emergency departments treated 3 million older adults for fall injuries.
- Older adult falls cost $50 billion in medical costs annually.
- Falls among adults 65 and older caused 36,000 deaths in 2020, making it the leading cause of injury death for that group.
- Women fall more often than men and experience three-quarters of all hip fractures.
- Women more often have osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.
Tips for Improving Your Home’s Safety
Improve Indoor and Outdoor Lighting
Make sure your home has plenty of light by adding light fixtures or brighter light bulbs. Safety lighting can make a massive difference in the security of your home, particularly if you live alone. You can install safety lights inside and outside your home to increase visibility. Motion sensor lights can also be a helpful tool to deter would-be intruders from approaching your home at night.
Decrease the risk of falls by installing and using handrails along each side of stairs and steps. Having railings at each entrance to your home is another excellent idea to help prevent falls, as you often have your hands full of items when you come inside, making it easier to lose your balance, trip, and fall.
Consider a Chairlift or Ramp
A chairlift can be a great option if you have a multilevel home. Replace dangerous outdoor steps with a ramp. Widen narrow outdoor steps by removing material from both sides to create a wider landing area. Have a professional assess the structural integrity of your stairs or steps before changes are made.
Improve Kitchen Safety
Ensure enough light at the range, sink, and countertop areas. Install night lights and remove loose rugs or other items that are easy to trip over. Avoid the use of step stools. Cabinets should be easily reachable or have pull-down shelves. Non-slip, anti-glare flooring also reduces the risk of falls in kitchens.
Improve Bathroom Safety
One of the most common areas where falls occur is the bathroom. To make your bathroom safer and decrease the risk of falls:
- Install grab bars next to bathtubs, showers, and toilets.
- Change out your shower head for a comfortable handheld model.
- Remove loose rugs, and put a non-skid rubber mat along the bathtub’s edge.
- Install safety devices like a raised toilet seat and a grab bar beside the toilet to make sitting and standing up easier.
Chiropractic Care Can Help Decrease the Risk of Falls
Chiropractic care offers patients of all ages many benefits. Regular chiropractic care has been shown to decrease the risk of falls in older patients. Here are just a few essential health benefits of chiropractic care as you age:
1. Improves Balance and Posture
Good posture and balance are vital to avoiding falls. General discomfort, dizziness, and improper spinal alignment can result in poor posture and balance, impacting how older adults stand and walk. Compensating for pain while moving can lead to instability and lack of confidence, which increases the risk of trips and falls. Chiropractic adjustments are beneficial in improving posture and increasing balance by gently moving vertebrae into proper alignment.
2. Reduces Musculoskeletal Pain
Many people assume that musculoskeletal pain is normal as you age. Pain is a sign of a problem and should not be ignored. Pain is one of the last symptoms to show up when there is a problem, and chiropractic care can improve overall health and musculoskeletal function while decreasing pain. When elderly individuals aren’t in pain, they will walk more assuredly and without fear of falling, reducing fall risk.
3. Decreases Dizziness and Vertigo
Whether an individual suffers from diagnosed vertigo or occasional dizziness, they are at a higher risk of falling than someone who doesn’t experience those symptoms. Vestibular disorders within the inner ear are usually responsible for dizziness. These situations can often be improved or corrected with regular chiropractic adjustments. When dizziness decreases, the risk of falling also significantly decreases.
4. Improves Blood Flow and Muscle Function
Chiropractic care improves overall body function, including restoring proper blood flow. Many older people’s muscle function has decreased over time due to reduced blood flow to specific muscles (due to a misalignment of the spine) and a lack of use. A combination of chiropractic care and light exercise can help fully restore proper blood flow and muscle function, reducing muscle atrophy and making an individual’s body stronger and more stable, reducing the likelihood of falling.
Call the Bluffs Chiropractic & Family Wellness Team
If you think chiropractic care might be the right solution for your aches and pains, call The Bluffs Chiropractic & Family Wellness team today. After a thorough chiropractic assessment, we’ll develop an individualized treatment plan to meet your needs. Chiropractic treatments can help improve joint movement and relax tight and spasmed muscles without using pain medications or invasive procedures.
If you’re ready to take the next step in achieving relief and overall wellness, contact The Bluffs Chiropractic & Family Wellness team today. Dr. Joshua Lippincott has been serving patients for over 12 years and is passionate about helping people achieve their best health. Contact us online or call (636) 326-2525 to schedule your initial consultation.