Salt Lake City might have some of the healthiest seniors in the USA, but they are still at risk of accidents. Slower reflexes, weaker musculature, vision loss — growing old makes you more prone and more vulnerable to accidents. Injuries that you scoffed at in your youth now become debilitating or even life-threatening.
Your driving skills dull as you age. Your vision blurs, you can’t think as fast, and you might even forget where you’re going. Your chances of getting into an accident increases and your chances of getting injured in one more than doubles. A minor rear-end collision can be enough to give you whiplash.
Straining your neck in your youth would take less than a week or two to heal, but whiplash, when you’re a senior, can be a little more problematic and even permanent. Stronger collisions can fracture your ribs or give you a concussion. Your body isn’t as healthy as it used to be, so you should be a little more careful driving. Drive in only the best conditions (no snow or rain) and try to avoid driving at night. Your eyes can’t adjust to glaring lights and sudden dimness as well as they used to, and your reflexes aren’t as sharp as before.
Slips and Falls
Inside the house, the number one reason for injuries in seniors is slipping or falling. Slips and falls are common, with a third of seniors suffering from one or the other each year. Weaker joints and more fragile bones will most likely require a trip to the emergency room, and a bad fall can rob you of mobility — sometimes permanently.
Once you’ve suffered a fall, your chances of falling again rise to 66 percent. Preventing slips and falls will require a vast remodel of your house. Make everything level and try to avoid having any steps. Clear pathways of obstructions, including mats and rugs that can slip from under you or entangle your walking aid. Most slips and falls occur in the bathroom, so make sure to install handholds and grab bars in strategic locations to help you get to and use the toilet.
Kitchen fires and accidental scalding become quite common in senior homes. If you’re living on your own, it is essential to install a smoke detector, preferably one that automatically alerts emergency services. Ditch your gas or electric stove and opt for an induction stove — no fire, no risk of burning.
Of course, you’ll still need to avoid touching your hot pots and pans. Getting scalded in hot water also becomes relatively common, especially as you advance in age. Install anti-scald valves in your faucets and showers to keep water temperatures safe. Now all you have to worry about is your coffee, tea, or soup.
Some accidents are unavoidable, but most are preventable. Get a bit of exercise and keep your muscles and joints active. Regular activity can keep your reflexes sharp as well as minimize instances of vertigo. Be a bit more careful and take measures that would reduce your risk of suffering accidents.