Big steps, baby steps, stair steps

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As we age, the collections of factors that can altar our daily living temporarily, or change our lives for good tend to increase. Some of those many factors include, but not limited to, declining health, change in appetite, new medical diagnosis, loss of a loved one and/or declining  physical strength. When our physical strength begins to decline, it can begin to take a toll on our daily lives and cause us to fear doing what we once loved.

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Thousands of men and women fall each year and break, or fracture, a bone. When we collapse down this large number, it amounts to one third of older adults who will fall each year.  One third of those adults who fall will die; one third will never be able to return to their normal lives; and only one third of those who fall will be able to recover completely.

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Aging can bring about an array of changes to one’s health (i.e. hearing, sight, muscle strength, coordination, bone density, reflexes and balance). Osteoporosis is another change that can highly increase the chances of breaking a bone, or bones, when falling because of bone thinness; this disease does not discriminate against men or women, thus putting both sexes at risk.

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For the younger generation, a broken bone may not seem as serious as we would like to stress it because with time it will heal. However, with an aging generation, a “simple” break can be the beginning of a more serious problem. Luckily, there are various tips and tricks to help prevent most falls.

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  • Ask you doctor about taking a bone density test. If necessary, there are medications that your doctor can prescribe to increase your bone strength, thus making them harder to break.
  • Regular exercise: Asking your doctor for a recommended exercise regime can help keep you strong, improve muscle tone, maintain, or gain, flexibility in your joints, ligaments and tendons. 
  • Have your vision and hearing checked often. If you receive new glasses or prescription, take time to get use to them.
  • Ask about your current medications, or recommended medications, side effects. Some may affect your balance and/or coordination.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes that fully support your feet.  
  • Always stand up slowly after eating, sitting down for prolonged periods of time, watching TV, or resting.
  • Use a cane, walking stick or walker to provide you with more steadiness and comfortability. Be careful when walking on icy, wet surfaces. 
  • Using the handrails or the wall when taking the stairs. 
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. 
  • Don’t take chances: stay away from freshly waxed or mopped floors, and do not stand on a chair to reach something that is too high. 

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By being conscious of our actions, movements and medical changes, the chances of preventing a fall increases. If you do fall, or believe there may be a chance that you could, make sure to have a contact prepared for you to call in the midst of an emergency such as falling and not being able to life yourself up. There are other measures and safety precautions that could be implemented such as a device to call 9-1-1 at the touch of a button.

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