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Protecting older adults from falling


Information provided by Aging In Place

Older people have the highest risk of death or serious injury arising from a fall, and the risk increases with age.  Whether a person lives in their home or in a care facility, there are safety precautions that can be taken to minimize falling.  This information is important for all family members.  Many families are caretakers of their older parents and can walk through and view potential areas that are unsafe and eliminate the danger of falling.  Be ahead of the game and take important safety precautions.


Here are some safeguards:

–  Get rid of clutter and potential tripping hazards, including electrical cords, loose throw rugs, clothing, shoes and other items on the floor.
– Keep your home brightly lit, especially stairways and hallways.  Nightlights are recommended for use in bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms.
– Wear practical shoes and slippers with non-slip soles.  Loose and baggy clothing can bunch up or drag on the ground, making it easy to trip.  Wearing socks can also cause falls when walking on slick floors.
– Walk-in showers are safer than bathtubs.  Bathtubs and showers should have non-slip bottoms and handrails.  
– Install handrails and grab bars, not only in bathrooms, but in any location necessary such as hallways, stairways and by the side of a bed.
– Place commonly used items, especially in the kitchen, within easy reach.
– Check with your doctor and discuss your health conditions and any medications you are taking.  Medications can have side effects and health issues can lend to periods of dizziness or fatigue.
– Stand up slowly from a chair or bed if you are feeling weak or dizzy.  
– Keep active and mobile if you are able.  Simple activities such as daily walks, tai chi, or water workouts improve strength, balance and coordination.
– Balance exercises target lower-body strength and help you remain steady on your feet.
– Slow down if you are rushing around and trying to multi-task.  Take a deep breath and relax.
– Outside, pay attention to surfaces and obstacles in front of you; water or ice on the pavement, curbs, uneven sidewalks or cracks.

This is a list of only a few precautions to prevent falling.  For more detailed information, visit www.aginginplace.org/fall-prevention/ or www.healthinaging.org.

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