One in three seniors fall every year

Preventing Falls: Steps Worth Taking

Do you worry about your loved ones falling? Whether it’s your parents losing their balance or your “invincible” son flying up and down the basement stairs, falls can be extremely dangerous for everyone.

When someone falls, it can significantly impact their independence, at least for a period of time. Taking some simple precautions to avoid falls can significantly reduce risk. Let’s start by considering why fall prevention is so important:

  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
  • Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
  • Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture
  • Each year, at least 250.000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures –  95% are result of a fall..
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. (CDC, 2016)

Because of these serious health and wellness consequences, it is important to consider the risk factors in your life and take precautions. Identifying high-risk areas and making small adjustments can lower our risks of falls. Here are just a few strategies you can start with:

  • Avoid chasing pets while on stairs and try to provide a distance between you and them.
  • Install stair handrails on both sides.
  • Make sure you can turn on lights in any room without having to walk in the dark to get to a light switch.
  • Use rubber bath mats and throw rugs that have rubber backing.
  • Avoid placing throw rugs at the top or bottom of stairways.
  • Arrange furniture so it is not an obstacle in walking paths.
  • Keep the paths clear of any items to avoid tripping.
  • Clean up water or other spills on the floor.
  • Repair flooring where it’s not a level surface and repair carpets where shoes can snag.
  • Move any cords, such as extension cords or draper cords, that are in walking paths and could get caught on feet or foot apparel.

When GSIL staff are in a consumer’s home, we look for potential fall hazards and can provide recommendations on how to improve the situation.

If you have any questions or concerns about being safe in your home or your family member being safe in their home, please call us at 1-800-826-3700. We are happy to help evaluate any situation!

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