As we get older, the risk of falls becomes more and more life-threatening. This week, news reports came out that U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts took a serious fall last month. Doctors believe he was dehydrated. About 25-50% of older adults who live independently experience a fall. Falls can cause some to become isolated, restrict activities, diminish the quality of life and in some cases even cause the person to become incapacitated.

Ann Clark, of Senior Health Partners, says that’s a major cause of falls, especially with the hot weather we’ve been having. Clark appeared on the Miles for Memories segment on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.

Drink Water to Avoid Falling
“When we talk about safety, do we think about it proactively or reactively? Reactively could mean it’s too late.” Clark says the most pro-active thing you can do is to stay hydrated.  “In this heat, especially going in & out of air conditioning can have a big effect on our bodies. Pay attention to what you are drinking and eating. Maintaining good nutrition and keeping fluids in your body can help during these hot days!”

Eliminate Obstacles That Can Trip You Up
Clark says it’s also important to take a good look around the house for hazards that you might be so used to that you don’t notice. “Is there clutter? Are cords laying around? One very common item that causes us to take a tumble is rugs. “The use of throw rugs for our older generation is so very common. They are everywhere – even on top of the carpet! Rugs can cause you to trip, your walker to get stuck, you cane to drag across, get tangled and then you stumble. Do your rugs have rubber backing or are it just cloth so it will slip easily on the floor?”

Check Your Hose
And Clark says, “Check your oxygen hose. Often, the hose gets tangled in your feet, causing a hazard.” And, Clark cautions that the oxygen level could be affected by too long a hose, causing you to become disoriented.

Grab On To This
Do you have grab bars where you need them? Coming in the doors of your home, in the bathroom, do you need one to assist you with getting out of bed? There are agencies in our area that will help with getting the grab bars needed.

Carry Stuff Carefully
How do you carry items or move them from one room to another? Remember by overloading your hands and arms you are affecting your balance. More trips, asking for help, or even getting a rolling cart to move items from one area to another might be a more safe avenue for you.

Exercise
Exercise is one way to help reduce falls. Getting your hips, thighs, and ankles stronger is a benefit in keeping you upright. You don’t have to take an aerobics class or do massive weight lifting. Just simply walking, performing stretching exercises, and working on balance can be a huge benefit. Even just marching while you sit in a chair has shown to provide great benefits for strengthening our bodies.