Preventing Falls

Posted by Ciara Moosman on Dec 1, 2014

In Healthy Living, Main

According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of injury death for older Americans. Falls threaten seniors' safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. However, falling is not an inevitable result of aging.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 1/3 of Americans aged 65+ fall each year.
  • Every 14 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 29 minutes, an older adult dies following a fall.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
  • Falls result in more than 2.4 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 772,000 hospitalizations and more than 21,700 deaths.
  • In 2012, the total cost of fall injuries was over $36 billion.
  • The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $59.6 billion by 2020.

Here are some tips to prevent falls:

  • Make an appointment with your doctor. Discuss your medications, whether your current health puts you at risk, and if you've fallen before.
  • Keep moving! Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.
  • Consider investing in a medical alert pendant. These are able to provide you with immediate assistance in case of a fall. These operators can change would could have been a potentially fatal fall. Find a medical alert system that fits your individual needs.
  • Use assistive devices throughout your home such as: hand rails on stairways, raised toilet seat, grab bars for the shower or tub, or a nonslip mats.
  • Clear your house of any clutter or furniture not needed. Getting rid of a dresser that you could do without clears up space to get around, especially in tight corners. Make sure to wear sensible shoes so these do not become a tripping hazard as well.

Stay educated!

The majority of falls in seniors occur in the bathroom. See the infographic below with some tips on how to prevent falls in this dangerous area of the house.

bathroom safety infographic
Infographic provided by Medical Care Alert