Raising Awareness About Fall Prevention
Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) falls in the United States – making falls the leading cause of injury and death in that age group.
The good news, many falls are preventable – which is the focus of National Fall Prevention Awareness Week. From September 18 – 24, we’ll be joining with other organizations to raise awareness about fall prevention and helping older adults live without the fear of falling.
“Many seniors who fall, even if they’re not injured, become deathly afraid of falling again,” said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manager at the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “Because of that fear, they often cut down on every day actives and become weaker. This increases their chances of falling again and threatens their ability to live independently. It’s an unforgiving cycle.”
10 simple things to help keep your aging loved ones on their feet
- Examine every room and hallway – look for things like loose carpet or wood floorboards that stick up and then repair or remove potential hazards.
- Keep the home neat, tidy and free of clutter, such as stacks of newspapers and magazines.
- Remove throw rugs – they can be a tripping hazard.
- Install handrails on each side of every stairway and grab bars by toilets and in tubs/showers.
- Secure mats in the tub/shower and other slippery surfaces.
- Make sure bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways and stairways are well-lit – install brighter light bulbs where needed and add nightlights to help with guidance after dark.
- Review medications to make sure they won’t cause balance issues or dizziness.
- If possible, move things around so your loved one can live on one level. If that’s not an option, encourage your senior to limit trips up and down the stairs.
- Make sure shoes and socks are non-slip.
- Encourage your loved one to stay active. Exercises like Tai Chi will make your senior’s legs stronger and improve balance.
“Eventually, your senior may need a cane or walker to help steady themselves or maybe event a little extra help at home,” Goetz said. “Our caregivers are always on the lookout for potential trip and fall hazards. They are also trained to assist seniors who may have mobility issues – reducing their risk of falls and helping them remain healthy and independent for as long as possible.”