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Fall Prevention & Home Safety Tips

Falls are costly and can cause serious injury or death.

Falling, slipping or tripping around the house is a serious concern for seniors.

Each year, more than one out of four adults age 65 and older falls. These falls cause moderate to severe injuries such as cuts, broken hips or head traumas in 20 to 30 percent of people. Injuries from falls can make it hard to get around or live independently, and they can increase the risk of early death.

Facts About Falls

  • Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
  • Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury.
  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries.
  • Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls.
  • The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • Many people who fall, even if they’re not injured, become afraid of falling. This fear may cause a person to cut down on their everyday activities. When a person is less active, they become weaker and this increases their chances of falling.
  • The chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.
  • Men are more likely than women to die from a fall. After taking age into account, the fall death rate is approximately 40% higher for men than for women.

* According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Home Safety Tips

  • Don’t rush when doing a task. Accidents are more likely to occur when you are in a hurry.
  • When changing positions, such as standing from a sitting position, count to 15 before starting to walk.
  • Wear supportive shoes that have low heels and rubber soles: smooth-soled shoes, slippers or only wearing socks can increase your chances of falling.
  • Make sure dresses, nightgowns and trousers are short enough in length to avoid tripping over them when walking. Also, be sure to roll back long, loose sleeves or fasten them with pins when cooking.
  • Do you take four or more medications daily? Multiple medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness and balance problems. It is important to have all of your medications reviewed at least once a year by a pharmacist or doctor.
  • Have your vision checked regularly/annually. Wear glasses as advised by your eye doctor.
  • Have you or those around you noticed a change in your hearing? Dizziness can occur with hearing loss. Set up an appointment to have your hearing checked.
  • Have daily contact with a family member, friend and/or neighbor. Also, consider having a home alert system installed.

Home Safety Modifications

BEDROOM
  • Move bedside items/tables closer and arrange the room so that there is a direct path in/out and to the bathroom.
  • Place night-lights in all bedrooms and bathrooms. Use night-lights that turn on automatically as the room becomes dark.
  • Always keep a charged flashlight near your bed for emergencies.
BATHROOM
  • Consider using a shower chair, tub-mounted grab bars and raised toilet seats with hand rails to assist with sitting and standing, hand-held shower attachment or wearing “aqua shoes.”
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on the shower floor.
KITCHEN
  • Store commonly used items on shelves that are easy for you to reach. If you must reach overhead, keep a sturdy stool handy.
  • Eliminate throw rugs, if possible. If necessary, use rugs with a nonskid backing or add double-sided carpet tape around edges.
STAIRS
  • Install handrails on both sides of the steps. They should run the full length of the steps.
  • Mark the top and bottom steps for better visibility with bright contrasting tape or paint.
  • Be sure stairs are well-lit and light bulbs are checked regularly to be in working order. Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.
OUTSIDE
  • Install sturdy handrails for all steps or, if necessary, a ramp with handrails.
  • Also, make sure your porch has proper lighting and consider fixing uneven sideways/pathways.

Ready to reduce the risk of falls in your home?

We're here to help. If you're interested in home accessibility modifications and eligibility criteria, contact us today!

Call the Aging & Disability Resource Center:

(317) 803-6131 or (800) 432-2422

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