According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one third of Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Every 14 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause for hospital admissions among senior citizens. The fear of falling can also have the effect of limiting socialization and other activities, this reduction of mobility may even increase the risk of falling. Given these statistics with the frequency and severity of falls, it is imperative to take steps to prevent their occurrence as much as possible.
One of the major causes of falls is poor vision. If vision impairment is suspected, a visit to the doctor’s office should be the first step. Annual vision checks would be a valuable investment. If new medications have been added they may be causing drowsiness or disorientation and the physician may want to change or substitute other medications. Regular exercise would be especially beneficial since leg weakness can increase the chance of falling.
Home Improvement Safety Tips
- Install handrails and lights on all staircases
- Remove small throw rugs or use double sided tape to keep rugs from slipping
- Avoid clutter and remove any furniture that is not secured especially furniture with sharp edges or corners to minimize the effect of a fall
- Do not have electrical cords trailing across the floor, have additional outlets installed
- Wear non-slip shoes and never walk barefoot or in stocking feet
- Install safety bars, grab bars and handrails in the shower and the toilet area
- Use a grasping tool to get out of reach items. Do not use a stepping stool or ladder under any circumstance
These are just a few recommendations to avoid falling or injury. Each home environment will be different but with these common sense adjustments, the home will be the safest place to live.