Fall Prevention for Seniors

Falls can happen anytime and anywhere to people of any age. However, as people get older, the number of falls and the severity of injury resulting from falls increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people age 65 and older. Common injuries due to falls are head injuries, shoulder and forearm fractures, spine fractures, pelvic fractures, and hip fractures.

We are headed into the fall and winter season with slippery pavement, ice and snow. What people do not realize is that indoor falls are a big risk too. Some ways to help prevent falls indoors and outdoors are:

Indoors

  • Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors
  • Use plastic or carpet runners
  • Wear low-heeled shoes
  • Do not walk in socks, stockings, or slippers
  • Be sure rugs have skid-proof backs or are tacked to the floor
  • Be sure stairs are well lit and have rails on both sides
  • Put grab bars on bathroom walls near tub, shower, and toilet
  • Use a nonskid bath mat in the shower or tub
  • Keep a flashlight next to your bed
  • Use a sturdy stepstool with a handrail and wide steps
  • Add more lights in rooms
  • Buy a cordless phone so that you don’t have to rush to the phone when it rings and so that you can call for help if you fall.

Outdoors:

  • Use a cane or walker for added stability.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes for traction.
  • Walk on grass when sidewalks are slippery.
  • In winter, carry salt or kitty litter to sprinkle on slippery sidewalks.

This video below, “Alone,” is a 60-second television public service announcement. It uses a dose of humor contrasted with the stark reality of falling to educate viewers on the importance of making their homes fall-safe. Please share this video to help prevent injury and death associated with falls.

For more info on fall prevention and visit the National Institute on Health (NIH) website  or visit this series on fall related publications.

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