The seasons are once again changing. Many people I talk with tell me this is their favorite season. Even if it is not, the cool weather, spectacle of changing leaves, and all the smells that accompany autumn have to make you smile. As the leaves begin to fall, everyone needs to take special precaution not to do the same. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that one-third of Americans aged 65+ falls each year and that falls result in more than 2.5 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 734,000 hospitalizations and more than 21,700 deaths.
Eldercare.gov provides a check list for preventing falls in the home. Some easy steps include:
- Making sure stairs have handrails and that the handrails are securely fastened preferably on both sides of the steps.
- Make sure floor boards are even and secure all rugs, including area rugs with tacks or double sided tape.
- Install grab bars at the toilet, in the shower, and in the bath tub.
- Use and secure non-slip bath mats.
- If you have to use a step stool, make sure that it has a bar at the top to hold on to.
- Place nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and stairways.
- Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Repair holes and uneven joints on walkways outside the home.
- Wear shoes in the home as socks present a slipping risk.
By taking simple steps the risk of falls can be reduced significantly. If you feel a loved one is at risk for falls, help them to take the necessary steps to make their home as safe as possible. The following is a list of additional resources to aid in fall prevention:
References and additional information: