The first day of Fall this year, September 22nd, marks Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This special day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCA), is an opportunity for everyone to consider how to make your environment as safe as possible for you and your loved ones.
According to the NCA, every 11 seconds an older adult is hospitalized for a fall and every 19 minutes someone dies from injuries resulting from a fall. These numbers are scary, but many accidents can be prevented.
- Bathroom – Install grab bars and non-slip mats or appliques in the tub or shower. Use a bathmat with a nonskid bottom and clean up any water that splashes on floors right away.
- Stairwells – Remove clutter from stairs and walkways. Stairs inside and out should have handrails, preferably on both sides.
- Lighting – Ideally, have night lights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways.
- Safety Gates – Secure gates at the top and the bottom of stairwells to prevent children falling.
- Flooring – Replace broken, loose or worn carpeting and floorboards.
- Walkways – Keep traffic areas clear from debris and avoid layered area rugs.
- Ice – Be aware of weather conditions, shovel walkways and spread ice-melt when necessary.
- Spills- Wipe up spills immediately.
Falls are the No. 1 cause of home injuries and death in the U.S., according to the Home Safety Council. The two groups most at risk for falls are children under age 5 and adults over age 70 but many falls can be prevented. A little time and thought in advance can help to prevent tragic consequences.