Ivana Trump died at age 73 on July 14 after falling in her New York City townhouse. The medical examiner determined her cause of death was from blunt impact injuries to her torso sustained from a fall. Trump was found unconscious near the bottom of a staircase. Her tragic death reminds us how important it is to make sure our homes are safe from obstacles that could lead to potentially deadly falls. This is especially true for older adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of four older adults falls each year in the United States. Approximately 36 million seniors fall annually, resulting in 32,000 deaths. Experts say that medications that cause drowsiness are the most common cause of falling in older people, so it is important to check with your doctor to see if the drugs you are taking may increase your risk of a tumble.
“As the United States population continues to age, we can expect more deaths from falls,” said Robin Lee, an expert in injury prevention at the CDC. “We can also expect more hospitalizations and nursing home admissions as a result of falls.”
There are smart steps all families can take to ensure the safety of everyone in the home, says Fox News.
These recommendations include:
• Get regular exercise. “This helps improve muscle strength and keeps joints, tendons, and ligaments more flexible,” says Trevor Meyerowitz, owner of Preferred Physical Therapy in Deerfield Beach, Fl. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking, water workouts, and the gentle art of tai chi can reduce your risk of falling. If you are afraid to exercise, consult a physical therapist who can create a custom exercise program for you.
• Wear sensible shoes. Your footwear should be part of your fall prevention plan. Avoid high heels, flip-flops, and shoes with slippery soles, say the experts at the Mayo Clinic.
• Check for home hazards. Remove all obstructions from hallways and high-traffic areas. Use double-backed tape to secure runners and carpeting. Store frequently used items within easy reach so you do not have to climb a ladder or step stool.
• Get balance training. A physical therapist can devise a program to help improve balance skills, says Meyerowitz. You can also try these 14 exercises at home.
• Light up your life. Make sure that you keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on hard-to-see objects. The Mayo Clinic advises using strategically placed night-lights in bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms.
• Get enough sleep. People fall more frequently when they are groggy, says Meyerowitz.
• Have your vision and hearing tested. Meyerowitz tells Newsmax that changes in hearing and eyesight affects one’s balance.
• Limit alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes, says the expert.
• Watch your blood pressure. “Blood pressure is a factor in falling that many people ignore,” says Meyerowitz. “When you stand up quickly your blood pressure drops, making you dizzy and potentially causing falls. Make sure you get up slowly.”
• Use assistive devices. If your balance is poor, your doctor might recommend a cane or walker to help keep you steady. Handrails for both sides of stairways and nonslip treads for floors are helpful. Install grab bars in the shower or tub, says the Mayo Clinic, and use a raised toilet seat.
• Consider an emergency alert system. According to Fox News, they can be worn on the body as a necklace, bracelet, or clip-on. If your or a loved one has a fall, pressing a button will summon help.
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