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Senior to Senior: Fall Prevention

Growing old is often associated with the words “frail,” “forgetful,” and “disabled.” Who started these rumors? Recent surveys tell us that nearly half of Americans aged 80 or older are not only in good mental and physical health, but they live in their own homes. Granted edging into your 90s will likely usher in some mobility issues, but you can deal with that. So, what’s the hang up with the “age thing.” Common fears people have about aging are based on worst-case scenarios, rather than on real life statistics. Which means that we, as a group, are more apt to have physical problems than decreased mental acuity. It’s just the way it is. So, what’s the shame in needing to hold onto a guard railing or in using a cane or walker? Yes, falls are the biggest causes of disability in people middle aged and older. There are physical reasons for this, but it has little to do with mentation, unless you are putting yourselves in harm’s way by ignoring a few necessary precautions. Yes, your strength and sense of balance will weaken as you grow older, but you can figure things out, just like you have always done. Think about it; babies fall, teenagers fall, and young adults fall. Few of their falls are reported, hence no statistics, and nobody worries about them. Of course, you should report falls and get checked out, but don’t let the fear of falling keep you from doing all of the things you love to do. Mentally you are okay, so use that mentation, as well as your years of experience, to come up with a plan. Talk to your doctor. Request a PT and OT referral. Senior proof your home. Formulate an exercise plan and shore up your image by improving your posture and your balance. Educate yourself about falling risks. Be proactive in your thinking. There is no shame in being careful. The shame comes from blundering ahead and thinking you know better than the professionals. Physical disabilities are not an indication of how intellectually capable you are.

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