September 22nd is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. According to the National Council on Aging, every 15 seconds an older adult is seen in an Emergency Department for a fall-related injury. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death those aged 65 and over.
Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. Even if falls don't cause major injury, it can leave an older adult fearful or depressed, making physical activity very challenging. The good news is, most falls are preventable!
Tips to keep your elderly loved one safe and independent:
- Encourage and help them to exercise regularly, focusing on increasing leg strength and balance
- Ask their doctor or pharmacist about medication side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness
- Have their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update eyeglasses as needed
- Reduce tripping hazards in the home by adding grab bars inside and outside of the shower
- Increase lighting throughout the house, especially at the top and bottom of stairs
For more ways to keep loved ones free of falls, check out these resources:
- What YOU Can Do To Prevent Falls
- Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Falls Among Older Adults, An Overview
- Falls Prevention Awareness Day 2013, National Council on Aging