Along with cooler temperatures and beautiful foliage, the first day of fall also brings Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Many people don’t realize how common fall injuries occur and how serious injuries can be. Falls can be especially dangerous for the elderly and according to the North Carolina Division of Public Health, they are the leading cause of fatal injuries and the second leading cause of nonfatal injuries among North Carolinians 65 and older. Falls are also one of the top three causes of traumatic brain injuries, which are most common among the elderly and young adults.
To keep you and your loved ones, try following these safety tips:
- Increase physical activity: It may sound like you’re putting yourself more at risk for a fall if you move around a lot, but exercise actually reduces the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. Make sure you check with your doctor first and only participate in activities that are on your current fitness level.
- Wear proper shoes: Purchase sturdy shoes that fit properly, with nonskid soles and laces. Try to avoid high heels, slip-on, and shoes with slick soles.
- Remove clutter: Go through your home and make sure all high traffic areas are clear of clutter. Make sure phone cords, furniture, and all other objects are out of the way.
- Pay attention to flooring: Make sure the floors are smooth, but not slippery and all loose tiles and floorboards are repaired. Also, make sure all rugs and mats are properly secured. You can use skid-resistant mats or double-faced tape.
- Improve lighting: Make sure all areas in your home are brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see. It may be helpful to keep night lights in the hallways and bathrooms or you could try using glow in the dark light switches.
- Use assistive devices: This applies to both young adults and the elderly. Canes are a great option for the elderly, but handrails are something everyone can and should use.