Know Your Risks and the Easy Ways You Can Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls
June is National Safety Month and one main focus of this year’s message, Keep Each Other Safe, is standing up to falls. Did you know falling is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for all age groups? These falls don’t just happen in the workplace or at home either; they can happen anywhere. According to the CDC, one in three older adults falls each year, causing injuries that can lead to limited activity, reduced mobility and the fear of falling the future.
The Numbers Behind Falls in America
- About 2.5 million falls were treated in emergency departments in 2013
- Of those, 734,000 people were admitted to the hospital
- More than 250,000 hip fractures are reported every year, and 95 percent of those are from falls
- In 2015 more than 33,000 people died from falls, majority were over the age of 65
Even though older Americans are at a higher risk of injury from falling, your age isn’t what puts you at risk. Underlying causes including uneven surfaces, medications that cause dizziness, improper footwear or muscle weakness could be to blame as well. While falls do happen anywhere, they most often occur inside the home. The good news is there are some things you can do to better protect you and your loved ones from injury.
How to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls at Home
- Secure rugs and mats to the floor
- Clean-up spills immediately after they happen
- Remove clutter, small furniture, pet gear and loose electrical cords
- Allow plenty of room for walking in your home by rearranging or removing furniture
- Install “grab bars” and non-skid mats in the bathtub or shower
- Make sure there is adequate lighting in every room and stairway
- Use non-slip adhesive strips on stairs
An estimated 55% of the entire US population over the age of 50 is at risk for osteoporosis, meaning that same percentage of Americans is at risk injury from falling due to bone weakness.
Did You Know?
- You are more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than suffer a heart attack, stroke or breast cancer combined.
- Osteoporosis-related bone breaks cost patients, their families, and the healthcare system an estimated $19 billion each year
- 24% of hip fracture patients aged 50 and older die in the year following their fracture
After making sure your home is fall-proof, your muscles are the next line of defense when it comes to preventing falls, mobility loss, and fractures. Exercise can keep your legs strong, help you stay mobile, and keep you upright and balanced. Along with keeping a regular exercise routine, older Americans should talk to their doctors about what steps they can take to ensure a healthy and fall-free lifestyle.