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Most people know that as we age, the risk of falling increases. About one in four people aged 65 and over fall each year, and that risk grows as people reach their 70s and 80s. You may not be aware that the risk for falling also increases when you travel. Navigating unfamiliar places, perhaps at night when visibility is poor, or while fatigued, or while carrying luggage or bulky packages, increase the risk of tripping or getting off balance. Even something as routine as getting up to use the bathroom is more risky in an unfamiliar place.
The first rule of thumb is to invest in a mobile fall detection and help button wearable to easily alert family and friends if a crisis arises.
Here are a few other travel tips for added safety and peace of mind.
- Pack light. Traveling with fewer, lighter bags, makes getting around much easier.
- Pack lights. Bring night lights or flashlights to help you see where you’re going if you get up during the night.
- Comfort beats fashion. Vacation is not the time for new shoes. Wear comfortable and broken-in shoes. Choose styles with non-skid soles and low heels to improve your balance and stability.
- Drink more (water). Flying causes dehydration which can lead to lightheadedness and can affect your balance.
- Drink less. Alcohol can also upset your balance, so avoid or drink fewer alcoholic drinks while traveling.
- Location. Location. Location. Choose a hotel close to the attractions, to minimize the amount of walking you’ll need to do. When you book the hotel, check if it’s accessible, not up a huge flight of steps, or a mountain, for that matter. Ask for a room on the ground floor, or ensure a close and working elevator.
- Be car conscious. There is a safer way to get in and out of a car. Getting out, swing both feet out, and place them flat on the ground before standing. Getting in, back in and sit down before swinging your feet into the car.
- Bring your own. Bath mat, that is. With all the hard surfaces, falling in the bathroom is especially dangerous. Prevent slipping in the shower by supplying your own non-skid bath mat.
- Bring two. If you wear glasses, bring an extra pair. Seeing where you’re going is critical to avoiding falls.
- Have a crisis plan! Make sure your loved ones know where you are, and invest in a technology wearable that you can press for assistance and that can automatically detect a fall. This fall detection and help wearable can also send your GPS location if an emergency arises. If you do fall, getting help quickly is can be key to recovery. The longer you wait for help, the more serious many injuries can be.