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Watch Your Step: Preventing Falls

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
February 26, 2014
Active Older Adults Search

Anyone can fall down--especially in weather like the snow this weekend.

Kathy Armitage, active lifestyles director at Platte County Community Center South operated by the YMCA, is a specialist in working with active older adults. She offers the following reminders to help all ages prevent falls.

  • Anyone can fall. Not just older adults are susceptible. Young moms walking with babies and toddlers in their arms can be especially prone because their children can provide distractions and carrying a child on one side can throw off your balance. 
  • Watch where you park. What you think is a shadow where you’re walking may be black ice. Your garage floor at home may be especially slippery when it’s wet.
  • Forget fashion. Wear flat shoes with good tread. You may be tired of your sturdy boots by now, but hold off on wearing your heels and lighter shoes just a little bit longer.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise and especially exercise that focuses on the back and core can help reduce the risk of falls and increase balance. Kathy also recommends leg exercise for older adults. 
  • If you do fall, take your time. Fight your instinct to get up as quickly as possible. Take time to gather your thoughts, catch your breath and assess for injuries before you stand up. 
  • Think ahead. It’s hard to think about the proper way to fall when you're slipping, but it’s worth some thought in advance—especially as you get older because injuries can mean long recoveries and can make daily activities challenging. When possible, brace your fall with the meaty parts of your body like your forearms and bottoms, not your head, wrist or palm. Try to avoid bracing your fall with just one side of your body, too, to more evenly distribute the impact.

May you make it safely through this next--and we hope the last--storm of the season!