A child who achieves far beyond expectations is called a child prodigy, but what do you call a senior who smashes our expectations of what’s possible at age 70, 80, 90 or beyond?
Is there even a word for Fauja Singh of the UK who ran his first marathon at age 89 and his last in 2011 when he was 100? Did you know that Susan B. Anthony was past 80 when she started the International Woman Suffrage Alliance? Or that Robert Frost was 88 when his last book of poems, “In the Clearing,” was published.
We got to thinking about that this month because May is officially Older Americans Month, which is as good a time as any to recognize the amazing achievements and everyday contributions of older Americans.
At Daystar Retirement Village we see both the every day contributions that make our community a vibrant and supportive place to live and the amazing achievements that expand our ideas of what it means to grow old.
Attitude is so very important, but of course staying healthy is critical as well.
This year, the Administration for Community Living (ACL), a branch of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, has chosen “Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow,” as the theme of the 2014 Older Americans Month.
According to the ACL, older adults are at a much higher risk of injury and accidental death than the rest of the population. The CDC estimates that one in three people over age 65 fall each year.
With that alarming statistic in mind, here is a list of steps you can take to reduce the risk of falls.
Begin a regular exercise program. Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of falling. Exercise will help with strength, balance and endurance, all of which will help prevent falls. (At Daystar we offer several different exercise or fitness activities each week.)
Have your medications reviewed. Polypharmacology, or the use of multiple medications, can lead to adverse side effects such as dizziness or sleepiness.
Have your vision checked. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
Keep floors free of things that can be tripped over, including throw rugs or floor mats.
Keep things within arms reach so that you don’t need to use a step stool.
Put grab bars near toilet and in the shower or tub. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or the shower.
Make sure you have sufficient lighting so that you can see clearly in and around your home at night.
If you have a pet, consider putting a bell on its collar to help you keep track of where it is. Tripping over a pet is a common accident.
Wear properly fitted shoes both inside and out. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
Falls always take a toll, either physically or mentally or both. Take a few simple steps to reduce the risks and keep on walking.
Older Americans have a lot to contribute, not just to their immediate families but to society as well, so we’re committed to doing what we can to help them stay safe and healthy this month and every month. Join us in celebrating Older Americans Month.