Healthy Living: Car safety for seniors
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One out of five senior citizens who falls and is hospitalized, dies within one year. Falls can happen anywhere.
It can happen on paved driveways, stairs or wet slate. A fall or simple slip causes major problems.
“37,000 seniors fall getting in and out of their cars every year," Occupational Therapist Lynda Shrager said. "People crawl into cars. They open the door, put one arm in, one leg in and they are off balance and their body is twisted, injury to back and cause them to be off balance and fall.”
Shrager offers advice to seniors on getting out of the car.
"We don't think to look, but when we pull up and get out of the car, we could step in pot holes, stick or stones, oil,” she said.
A cluttered garage can cause problems, especially when there isn't enough room to open the car door. The safe method to get in your car is to open the door as far as you can and back into it.
Shrager said, "Scoot back on the seat, if possible with both legs and spin in together as a unit in."
The safest way to get out is to open your car door as wide as you can, rotate your body with both feet together, put both feet on the ground and push up and step out.
If you need more help, a handy grab bar fits right into the striker frame which is every car.
"It becomes a grab bar. The person can hold onto it and let themselves down onto the seat safely or when getting out, they take it again, open the door, pop their handy bar in the striker frame and push right up on it,” Shrager said.
For even more help, there are even swivel seats.
"A lazy Susan for the car... You sit down and swivel right on in,” Shrager said.