Updated 04/07/2013 05:00 AM
Healthy Living: Car safety for seniors
In this edition of Healthy Living, Marcie Fraser explains the ricks senior citizens face getting in and out of their cars, and how to help reduce the chance of falling.
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One out of five senior citizens who fall and are hospitalized die within one year falls can happen anywhere. It can happen on paved driveways, stairs, wet slate, a fall or simple slip cause major problems.
Lynda Shrager, an Occupational Therapist said, “37,000 seniors fall getting in and out of their cars every year."
"Suddenly feel a crack in your back and in a lot of pain from that point you are not very mobile,” said senior citizen Ruth Mendel.
After Mendel's recuperation, she was careful to avoid another injury she altered the way she did things even getting in and out of her car.
"People crawl into car 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 off balance and fall,” said Shrager.
An expert in senior safety, Linda Shrager, offers advice to seniors which include 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,” said Shrager.
A cluttered garage can cause problems especially when there isn't enough room to open the car door. The safe method to getting in your car? 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."
Getting out, open 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 . Need more help? This handy 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,” said Shrager.
Need more? How about this swivel seat?
"A lazy Susan for the car. You sit down and swivel right on in,” said Shrager.