Posted: September 10, 2021
We are happy to partner with SilverSneakers® so our members can achieve their fitness goals – but did you know that SilverSneakers also provides tips on staying healthy? This month, SilverSneakers is focusing on staying active to help prevent falls.
Walking, gardening, golfing, exercising, and doing chores around the house are great ways to stay active and social. But the fear of falling prevents many seniors from enjoying these and many other healthy activities. If a fear of falling keeps you from staying active, here are some tips to help:
Talk to your doctor. If you’ve fallen before or are concerned about falls or risk factors that affect your mobility, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can help identify things that may increase your risk of falling, like medications, health conditions, vitamin deficiencies, injuries, or lifestyle factors. Your doctor can watch you walk to determine how steady you are and give you specific nutrition and exercise recommendations.
Safeguard your home. A fall can happen anywhere, even at home. It is a good idea to check your home for hazards. Install grab bars in the shower and beside the toilet. Use a nonslip mat in the shower. Install handrails on both sides of any staircase and use them even if you don't think you need to. Clear hallways and pathways of clutter. Pick up loose rugs or obstacles you can trip over. Ensure lighting is bright enough to allow you to see hazards clearly. Use a checklist from the Centers for Disease Control to make your home safe and reduce your risk.
Stay active. Regular physical activity can help you improve balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait, and reduce your risk of falling. Many exercises can be done in a seated position so you can stay active without worrying about falling. Your SilverSneakers benefit provided by WEA-MedPlus is a good place to start!
Wear sensible shoes. Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall prevention plan. High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. Even walking in your stocking feet can lead to a fall. Instead, wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles.
Want to do more? Join a SilverSneakers Stability class online! These classes are free to our members and range from 45-60 minutes depending on skill level. The stability class focuses on improving balance by using a chair support to advance cognition and increase fall prevention skills. More information on classes can be found at SilverSneakers Online Classes (filter the classes to “SilverSneakers Stability”).