Each year, thousands of older Americans fall at home. Many of them are seriously injured, and some are disabled. In 2002, more than 12,800 people over age 65 died and 1.6 million were treated in emergency departments because of falls.
Falls are often due to hazards that are easy to overlook but easy to fix. Many falls can be prevented. By making some changes you can lower your chances of falling.
This brochure describes four Fall Prevention Tips along with Home Safety suggestions.
Falls don’t have to be a part of getting older. You have the ability to decrease your chance of experiencing a fall. Share these tips with your friends and family to help ensure their safety too.
FALL PREVENTION TIPS:
1. Begin a regular exercise program.
Exercise is one of the most important ways to lower your chances of falling. It makes you stronger and helps you feel better.
Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling.
Ask your doctor about the best type of exercise program for you.
2. Have your health care provider review your medicines.
Have your doctor or pharmacist review all the medicines you take, even over the counter medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall.
3. Have your vision checked.
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. You may be wearing glasses or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
4. Make your home safer
About half of all falls happen at home. To make your home safer:
Remove things you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs from slipping.
Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
Have grab bars put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.
Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang light–weight curtains or shades to reduce glare.
Have handrails and lights put in on all staircases.
Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
Other Safety Tips
Get up slowly after you sit or lie down.
Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so you can see the stairs better. For example, use a light color paint on dark wood.
Keep emergency phone numbers in large print near each phone.
Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and can’t get up.
Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can’t get up.
This information was obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.