Preventing falls is an important topic to consider when a person ages. Physical changes and specific health conditions, including the medications taken to treat or manage those conditions, can sometimes place an older person at risk for falls.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among older Americans. More than 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries, and over 27,000 die from them every year. In addition, falls can cause long-term health problems, such as bone fractures or head injuries. If you’re an older adult, it’s essential to take steps to prevent falls and protect yourself if one does occur.
According to research, most people trip and fall at home because of moving too quickly. This is also true when abruptly shifting from sitting to standing or vice versa. Therefore, take extra time when moving and walking and frequent pauses to avoid fall hazards.
Sometimes home fixtures can contribute to falls, which then lead to back pain and other injuries. Examine every room in your house for items such as loose carpets, slippery throw rugs, or loose cables around the floor that may cause someone to slip while walking around.
Keeping the home tidy is one of the most significant ways to prevent falls. Remove all clutter, such as stacks of old newspapers or magazines from hallways and staircases, where they can cause hazards for those who use them daily.
Grab bars are essential for safety when climbing up or down the stairs, getting on and off the toilet seat, and using the bathtub. This can help in preventing falls or minimize the injury should it happen. Seek help from a handyman or another family member to ensure proper installation.
Loose or baggy clothes make a person more prone to accidents and falls. Instead, choose better-fitting clothes with proper hemming to prevent bunched up or dragged.
Elderlies have poorer vision due to age. One of the significant hazards of old age that can be found in a home is inadequate lighting. In order to create a safe environment, install brighter light bulbs where needed, particularly near stairs or narrow hallways.
Socks may be comfortable, but they pose a great risk of slipping. Wearing non-slip shoes can provide a better grasp to prevent slipping. This can also protect the feet from sharp objects should they be present.
Bathrooms, toilets, kitchen floors, and porches can become extremely dangerous when the floors become wet. To prevent slipping on these slick surfaces, use not-slip mats.
Stairs can pose a significant trip and fall hazard. And the height of a fall from a staircase can result in substantial injury and even loss of life. If it is not possible to stay at one level, ensure to limit your trips up or down the stairs by keeping most of your daily activities and routines close to you.
Preventing falls does not only include changes in your living environment. Exercise is also a great way to avoid falls while keeping your body healthy and strong. It helps improve muscle tone flexibility in joints (and other parts of our bodies) and prevents bone loss from osteoporosis. Having well-toned muscles and bones as you age can help prevent weakness that results in higher risks of trips and falls. This can also help you be more mobile and agile to quickly gain balance in tripping cases.
Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in older adults. However, many falls can be prevented by making simple changes to your daily routine. If you’re an older adult or have aging loved ones, please take a few minutes to review the tips we’ve provided today. And remember, if you fall, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Let us know how we can support you if you have recently experienced a fall accident. Schedule an appointment with us at Maplewood Sauk Prairie Wellness and Rehabilitation Center.