In 2019 the CDC reported that over 34,000 adults 65 and older died from falls, making it the leading cause for injury death among this group. I won’t list all the scary facts about what occurs after someone falls but you can click here for the statistics from the CDC.
In my experience as a home care provider, I have found that most people do not live longer than a year after a serious fall especially if they are already medically fragile. Falls are not a normal part of aging and can be prevented. The CDC’s Steadi program is a great place to start for resources. You may also want to check out your local Area Agency on Aging for fall prevention programs called A Matter of Balance. Click here for a link to the National Area Agency on Aging to help find one near you.
Six Steps to Prevent a Fall
- Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility. Your local senior centers may be a great place to start but it could be as simple as getting out each day and taking a walk.
- Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling and share your history of recent falls.
- Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure medication side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.
- Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.
- Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas. Google free home safety assessments for older adults in your area. There are usually non-profits, including your local EMS, that are willing to come out and assess your situation for free.
- Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a seniors’ issue.