Strategies for people with osteoporosis
Except for people living in perpetually sunny climates, most of us face winters with shorter days, cold temperatures, snow, and even ice. While inclement weather can be dangerous for anyone, it is a special concern for people whose bones are fragile from osteoporosis. For these people, falls increase their risk of fracturing bones in their wrists, spine, hip, or elsewhere. In addition to fragile bones, older people, especially those in their 80s and 90s, gradually lose much of the muscle and body fat that has cushioned and protected their bones. Loss of padding in the hip area may make the hip bones more vulnerable if the person falls.
The good news is that falls can be prevented with attention to safety both outdoors and in the home.
- Check that all carpets or area rugs have fluorescent tape on edges of top and bottom steps.
- Install grab bars on bathroom walls beside tubs, showers and toilets. If you are unstable on your feet, consider using a plastic chair with a back and nonskid leg tips in the shower.
- Use a rubber bath mat in the shower or tub.
- Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries beside your bed.
- Add ceiling fixtures to rooms lit by lamps only; or hook up a lamp that is activated by a switch near the entry point into the room. Another option is to install voice or sound-activated lamps.
- Use brighter light bulbs in your home.
- If you must use a step stool, use a sturdy one with a handrail and wide steps for hard to reach areas. Reorganize work areas and storage to minimize the need for stooping or excessive reaching.
Consider purchasing a portable phone that you can take with you from room to room. It provides security because not only can you answer the phone without rushing for it, but you can also call for help should an accident occur.
Outdoor Safety Tips
- In nasty weather, use a walker or cane for added stability.
- Wear warm boots with rubber soles for added traction.
- If sidewalks look slippery, walk on the grass for better traction.
- In winter, carry a small bag of rock salt, kosher salt, or kitty litter in your pocket or car. You can then sprinkle the salt or kitty litter on sidewalks or streets that are slippery.
- Look carefully at floor surfaces in public buildings. Many floors are made of highly polished marble or tile that can be very slippery.
- Keep all rooms free from clutter, especially on the floors.
- Keep floor surfaces smooth, but not slippery.
- When entering rooms, be aware of differences in floor levels and thresholds.
- Wear supportive, low-healed shoes, even at home. Avoid walking around in socks, stockings, or scuffs.
Illnesses and Medications
If you have an illness that affects your circulation, sensation, or mobility or take medications such as changes in hearing occur as we age. If you do not hear as well as you used to, or if you are always vision also changes with age. Cataracts or glaucoma can develop. Your eyes need longer to interestingly, most falls occur at home in the afternoon, often because people trip while walking or reflexes are automatic responses to stimuli in the environment.
13710 Olive Boulevard (Primary Office)
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Telephone: 314-469-PAIN (7246)
Exchange: 314-441-6965 (for after-hour Emergencies Only)
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