Tips for Better Balance After 50

Better Balance After 50

By: Linda Remensnyder

Just before Thanksgiving not many years ago, I received a call from my mother’s neighbor to inform me that my widowed mother fell down the back stairs. Mom had wrapped two plastic grocery bags around her wrists as she rushed to meet friends for lunch. She reached for the screen door and stepped back to open it widely just as she had for forty years but the combination of the extra grocery weight in conjunction with her rapid ascent caused her to fall backwards and fracture her skull.

We tend to think that such occurrences happen to other people. After all, we are not THAT old that we need a cane or a walker to navigate. But the fact is one of the leading health concerns for people over the age of 60 is falling and falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older. Falls are reported by one-third of all people over the age of 65 and two thirds of those who fall will do so again within six months. And, one fourth of those who fracture a hip from a fall will die within six months

The vestibular (balance) system is a sensory system and balance, like hearing and vision, deteriorates with age.

The following steps may help you prevent falls:

  • Anchor, or dispose of, all throw rugs
  • Pick up all scattered pet toys  
  • Teach your pets to move as you approach. Shuffle your feet to warn them you’re coming so they are prompted to get out of the way
  • If you take out your dogs at night, bring a small flashlight and install a motion detector light system to illuminate your path
  • Turn on the overhead light in each room you walk through
  • Put on your glasses even if you’re just taking a short bathroom trip
  • Keep a nightlight turned on
  • Take your time getting up from bed to stabilize yourself before taking that first step
  • Keep fall prevention in mind when you select your new shoes--backless shoes and slippers and shoes with smooth leather soles may place you at risk
  • Use your stair railing
  • And be careful as you approach uneven surfaces. The cobblestones at the Champs-Elysees caused me to trip and fall forward so I had face bruises for the remainder of my trip  

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Linda S. Remensnyder - Healthy Living

Linda S. Remensnyder, Au.D., recently retired, founded Hearing Associates, a private practice in Audiology in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago, in 1980.  Dr. Remensnyder received her Au.D. from the University of Florida and was the first Doctor of Audiology in Illinois.  She holds board certification in Audiology from the American Board of Audiology and has served on the Board of Governors for that organization.

In 2013, she was awarded the Lake County Women’s Coalition Honors: Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination and in 2014, she received the Patient Advocacy Award from the Illinois Academy of Audiology.  Over the years, Dr. Remensnyder has published articles on hearing loss and hearing management in a variety of professional and consumer publications.

Linda resides in Lake Forest, IL with her husband, Larry, their rescue schnauzer, Webster, and a new cockapoo puppy, Bentley.