Open Accessibility Menu
Hide

Tip to Prevent Falls

For older Americans, the greatest threat to their health is:

Falling.

In fact, every 11 seconds a senior is seen in an emergency room for a fall-related injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injuries and death from injury among those ages 65 and older.

The CDC also reports that:

  • One in three older adults falls each year.
  • About 2.5 million nonfatal falls are treated annually in emergency departments, and–of this group–some 734,000 are admitted to the hospital.
  • Each year, about 25,500 older adults die from unintentional falls.
  • More than 250,000 hip fractures are reported annually, and fully 95 percent are from falls

Home Fall-Prevention Checklist

The majority of falls occur at home, and many are preventable. With this goal in mind, ATRIO is urging seniors to follow these recommendations from the National Safety Council:

  • Install handrails on both sides of any stairways.
  • Secure all throw rugs and area rugs with tacks, nonskid pads, or double-sided rug tape.
  • Use non-skid floor wax.
  • Remove soap buildup in tubs and showers.
  • Place non-slip strips in tub and shower; secure bathmats with double-sided tape.
  • Install adjustable-height showerheads.
  • Mount grab bars on both sides of toilet, as well as on bath and shower walls.
  • Keep items used frequently within easy reach to eliminate the need for a steep stool.
  • Plug nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and stairways.
  • Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Place a lamp and telephone near your bed.
  • Remove any clutter from hallways and other high-traffic areas.
    • Arrange or remove furniture so there is plenty of room for walking.
    • Wipe up spills immediately.
    • Make sure outdoor areas are well lit and walkways are smooth and free from ice.
    • If necessary, provide personal walking devices, such as a cane or walker, to aid in stability.
    • Wear low-heeled, rubber-soled shoes.
    • Do not walk in socks, stockings, or slippers.

Wellness Fall-Prevention Checklist

In addition to making their homes as fall-proof as possible, older Americans also can take steps that will both improve wellness and reduce the risk of falling. Toward this end, the CDC suggests that seniors:

  • Exercise regularly, because lack of exercise leads to weakness, which in turn increases the chances of falling; exercises that improve balancesuch as yoga and Tai chiare especially beneficial.
  • Review with your health-care provider the medications–both over-the-counter and prescription–that you're currently taking to determine if any are causing significant drowsiness or disorientation, as these conditions increase the risk of falling. Medications that may increase the risk of falling include blood pressure pills, heart medicines, diuretics, muscle relaxants, and sleeping pills.
  • Have your vision checked regularly to detect conditions–such as glaucoma or cataractsthat could impair vision and possibly cause a fall; those who wear glasses also should have annual vision tests.

Make every month, free of falls.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0922-older-adult-falls.html

https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/

https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/preventing-falls-tips-for-older-adults-and-caregivers/take-control-of-your-health-6-steps-to-prevent-a-fall/

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/fracture/prevent_falls_ff.asp

https://oam.acl.gov/

http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/safety-at-home-falls.aspx