One in three Americans over the age of 65 will fall every year. These falls can result in emergency room visits, surgery, hospitalization or disabilities. One serious consequence of falling is a hip fracture. Of the more than 200,000 older adults who experience hip fractures each year, less than half return to full function, 30% of survivors require long-term care and nearly one third result in death. Most often accidental falls are due to hazards that are overlooked, like a spill on the floor, but are easily fixed. Being aware of these environmental risk factors, or making changes, can reduce your risk of having an accidental fall.
Accidental falls are the leading cause of home injury and death for those 65 and older.
Check your home for hazards that might cause you to trip, slip or fall. Also, look at entryways to your home. When you spot a safety hazard, correct it as soon as possible.
Also keep large print, emergency numbers near each phone. Have a phone near the floor in case you fall and are not able to get up. Consider wearing an alarm device that you can use to call for help or establish a daily “buddy check” system with a neighbor.
Changes in vision occur with aging. Older adults require up to three times more light and their eyes do not adjust as quickly to changes in light conditions, such as those experienced when walking from a brightly lit room to a darker room.
LOOSE RUGS, runners, or mats in all areas of your home SHOULD BE REMOVED. They catch heels and toes and cause many in-home falls.
If you insist upon using rugs, particularly for the bathroom, check them for slip-resistance. Always secure rugs using double-faced adhesive carpet tape or rubber matting. Check them often for wear and tear and replace tape or backing when needed.
Avoid falls in the shower or tub by:
Store cabinet, closet or shelf items that you use often where they are easily reached.
Do not attempt to do activities you are unsure about, like standing on a ladder to change a light bulb. Ask for help from a neighbor or friend. Don’t risk an injury!
Every day older adults trip on stairs they know well. Both in and outside your home always remember to:
Always pay attention to your surroundings and never be in a hurry as this can cause accidents!
Extension's Communication Team
Collins, C. and Petermeier, H., 2007, Preventing Falls in Your Home, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-07-24
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