Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA - 45

45

Prevent a
Future Spill

What can you do to
decrease the chances
that you'll fall? Todd
Swenning, MD, a
cabinet member of
the American Academy
of Orthopaedic
Surgeons, says it
takes a combination
of balance, exercise
and planning.
"This is generally
a problem around
balance and gait,"
Swenning says. "And
there are things we can
do to improve both
those things," including
moderate exercise.
Try these tips
from Swenning and
the National Council
on Aging.

Build your
balance.
Stand behind a
sturdy chair or
at the kitchen
sink-a place
where you can
just barely put
your fingers on
something for
support. Balance
on one leg for
five to 10 seconds. Then try
doing it with your
eyes closed. (If
your balance is
shaky, ask someone to spot you.)

Visit the
eye doctor.
You're more
likely to trip
on something
you can't see.
Make sure your
prescription
is up to date,
and wear your
glasses if you
get up in the
middle of
the night.

Declutter
your space.
Pay special
attention to
cords, throw
rugs and other
tripping hazards in your
home. Increase
lighting and
install grab bars
in the bathroom and other
key areas.

Meditate.
Deep breathing increases
your awareness of your
body. You
don't need a
lot of time.
Just work
on being
mindful of
your breath
and movements.

Start young.
Focus on your core
and balance exercises long before
you're in the
at-risk age group
(65 and older).
Yoga will help,
and so will simple
actions such as
putting on your
socks and shoes
standing up.

Help for Caregivers

If you're a caregiver concerned about your loved one falling,
download a guide that will help you make a falls prevention action plan
at ncoa.org/resources/falls-prevention-conversation-guide-caregivers.

>800,000

older Americans are hospitalized each year because of fall injuries

ILLUSTRATION AND ICONS BY GETTY IMAGES

>2.8 million fall-related injuries
are treated in emergency
departments annually

1 in 5
falls

lead to broken bones
or severe head injuries
Sources: American Heart Association,
Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, National Council on Aging,
World Health Organization

VIM & VIGOR WINTER 2020

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7/28/20 9:49 AM


http://www.ncoa.org/resources/falls-prevention-conversation-guide-caregivers

Vim & Vigor - Winter 2020 - UVA

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