Prevent Falls when Traveling

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4 Tips for Road Tripping with Older Adults

Travel is one of modern life’s greatest pleasures. In today’s world, if you can find it on the map, you can go there (yes, even Antarctica).

However, traveling makes certain risks — like falling — more likely. An injury from a fall could mean the difference between seeing the sites and hearing about them secondhand — from a hospital. Here’s how to prepare so that doesn’t happen:

Unfamiliar settings: pack any fall prevention products that you use for your bed at home. Why is this so important? Because approximately 50% of falls (at least in nursing homes) involve the bed. If you’re staying in a hotel, request a full-sized mattress; one study shows wider mattresses may reduce falls.

Other ways you can protect yourself from falling in an unfamiliar setting:

▪  install night lights and fall safety products

▪  memorize the room’s layout

▪  keep walking paths free of clutter

Jet Lag: feeling sluggish from a long flight or drive is normal; it’s part of the reason travel days don’t “count” when you’re on vacation. To avoid slips, trips, or falls, ease into physical activity on travel days.

Forgetting medications: what’s a trip without a couple of forgotten items? In most cases, it’s not a problem — you can restock easily. Not so with prescription meds. Keep them top-of-mind by investing in a conspicuous travel container that you’ll remember to pack.

Climate: like overcoming jet lag, it’s best to get acclimated to the climate before exerting yourself while traveling. For example, altitude changes (e.g., Denver, CO) can make you light-headed and more susceptible to falling. Drink more water than normal to help your body adjust to the new climate.

Terrain: wherever you go, you’ll want to get out and explore. Take advantage of charming cobblestone streets, gorgeous hiking trails, or sandy beaches by bringing fall safety products along for the ride.

Traveling is all about memories; don’t let a fall rob you of them.