Make Fall Prevention A Priority This September

A line of dominos with some falling and a finger holding up one domino with word RISK

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According to the National Institute on Aging, an alarming one in four people 65 years or older fall each year. That’s because as we age, our physical abilities are reduced and tasks such as stretching, lifting and bending become more difficult, which makes us more vulnerable to falling. In addition, a study by the University of Rochester Medical Center showed that there is a stark difference in the way non-elderly adults fall from a standing position, known as ‘ground-level falls,’ compared to the elderly (70 and over in this study). The study also showed that older adults were three times as likely to die from a ground-level fall. And approximately half of these types of fatal injuries are caused by injuries to the head, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another alarming statistic is that deaths from unintentional injuries are the seventh leading cause of death among older adults and falls account for the largest percentage of those deaths, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

But there’s good news – most falls can be prevented by simply taking certain precautions to help ensure a safe, accident-free home. These include:

  • Have bright lights over stairs, steps and on landings
  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairs and steps and make sure the handrails go from the top to the bottom of the stairs
  • Use a ladder for climbing instead of a stool or furniture
  • Tape small rugs to the floor, or remove them entirely
  • Keep stairs clear of debris
  • Have nightlights placed in the bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms
  • Use a mat or non-slip strips in the tub and shower. Have a non-skid bottom on your bathroom rug or mat
  • Install grab bars in the tub and shower
  • Wipe up spills when they happen
  • Outdoors, fix broken or chipped steps on walkways

In addition to the above, there are personal actions you can take to help ensure you don’t fall. These include:

  • Have your vision checked
  • Check with your doctor regarding possible medication interaction which may affect your balance
  • Take medication as prescribed
  • Exercise regularly to help improve strength and balance
  • Take care of your feet
  • Remove clutter
  • Use a cane, walker or other devices

Taking the above precautions will greatly minimize the chances that you or a loved one will fall, so take the month of September to make it a priority!

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