4 Seniors: How to prevent falls, injuries

OKLAHOMA CITY – It is a dangerous reality, but one out of every three elderly Americans fall- which makes it the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors.

A simple fall can have devastating effects, but there are things that can help prevent those injuries.

Start exercising: Weak leg muscles and poor balance are two of the biggest risk factors that cause seniors to fall. Tai chi, walking, water aerobics and strength training can improve strength and balance. For more exercises, the National Institute on Aging offers free guides and a DVD that you can order.

Review medications: If your parent is dizzy or light-headed from medication, take the drugs to a doctor or pharmacist to review or adjust the doses.

Get an eye exam: Poor vision can also contribute to falls, so make sure your parents’ eyes get checked every year. Also, they should wear single vision glasses while out on walks.

Modify their home: There are simple household modifications to make your home safer, like arranging or moving furniture so there are clear pathways. Remove throw rugs or use double-sided tape to secure them. In the bathroom, get non-skid rugs for the floors and a rubber suction-grip mat or adhesive non-ski tape for the tub. You may also want to purchase a shower chair. Also, increase lighting throughout the home. For more tips, call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116.

Purchase some helpful aids: If your parent needs help with walking, talk to a doctor about getting fit for a cane or walker. You may also want a Bay Alarm Medical alert device, which is available for less than $1 per day.