As active seniors, many of us feel invincible. We try to eat right, exercise regularly, think positively, reach out to others and spread the joy of being alive. We tell ourselves that “age is merely a number, and if we don’t mind it doesn’t matter.” All this is positive thinking: a healthy approach to later life. We skip blithely from one day to another UNTIL something happens like a sudden clap of thunder. Wowzer, how quickly life can change in a nano second.
As from an unexpected fall: tripping over our own two feet or an unseen object. Seniors don’t bounce. Our bones are softer, more brittle. Bones break or even shatter. Three weeks ago, while finishing up a bi-weekly exercise session, I announced to our visiting 21 year-old granddaughter, “lookie at what grammy can do!” Slide, skip, slide, skip KERPLOP! It didn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce the break(s). The ER, hospitalization, hand surgeon, IV pain drugs every three hours, two-hour surgery to fix two broken bones in left arm plus “shattered” wrist. Humbling, debilitating lesson not ever forgotten. No time for self-pity…
It is important to know some sobering statistics from the Phillips Lifeline website about how often falls occur as people age. Here is a brief synopsis of information:
“About one-third of people over age 65 fall (accidentally) each year. By age 80, over half of seniors fall annually. Yet many falls are unreported, as they do not result in injuries requiring medical treatment. Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly. Eighty-seven percent of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls. Forty-seven percent of seniors who fall (and are uninjured) do not know how to get themselves up unassisted. Those who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again.”
However, seeking help from a trained exercise professional can make a huge difference for all seniors. Increase your core strength and by all means, every senior needs to be taught to get up from the floor unassisted. You can do it!!
As I wrote Joy of Retirement: Live, Love, and Learn we retirees are responsible for being proactive in all areas of our lives. As I look at my vibrant amethyst colored cast, I am inspired to share some thoughts for you to ponder. If just one cautionary tidbit resonates with you, that will be a step forward!
How do we avoid taking chances and avoid breaking bones in later life?
- Hold onto railings beside stairways.
- Keep all clutter off floors.
- Pick up your feet as you walk.
- Beware of scatter rugs!
- Put them in a closet!
- Mop up all spills on wet floors.
- Avoid icy patches in winter.
- Tie shoelaces securely.
- Keep closets and garages tidy.
- Refrain from standing on step stools, ladders and chairs.
- Look at the ground, not the stars when walking.
- Walk your dog cautiously…careful of tangled leash.
AND NEVER EVER SHOW OFF FOR GRANDCHILDREN!!!!
If you are way too young to relate to this article, perhaps it can help you as you love and care better for older friends and family members. It is never too soon to plan ahead and never too late to learn.