On September 22nd, the National Council on Aging will observe Fall Prevention Awareness Day as a means of raising awareness around how to prevent slip and fall injuries among older adults. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four Americans over the age of 65 will fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in older adults.
It may seem like falling is an unavoidable part of aging, but many falls are preventable. What’s more, the benefits of fall prevention reach far beyond injury prevention. Fall prevention enables older adults to live safer and more independent lives. Even just the fear of falling can prompt seniors to withdraw from social activities, which can have severe ramifications ranging from rapid physical decline to the onset of mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Preventing falls starts in the home. The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence at the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology shares some must-read home improvement tips to help fall-proof your home. Among them are:
- Remove tripping hazards on stairs and walkways
- Install rug grippers to keep rugs from sliding
- Install lighting around stairs and hallways
- Install grab bars and non-skid strips in the bathroom
- Install handrails on staircases
Of course, physical activity is extremely important to maintain quality of life, especially as we age. So when it comes to avoiding slips and falls, it’s equally vital to be cautious in outdoor and public spaces. Consider exercising in well-maintained places such as parks, schools, or even inside the mall. Watch for hazards such as frost heaves or tree roots, and be extra careful when the ground is wet, snowy, or icy. Make sure you choose a location that has ample lighting, as inadequate lighting is a leading cause of slips, trips, and falls. Always use handrails when available, and take your time when traveling—rushing increases your falling risk.
Preventing Falls with Pets
Our furry friends provide us with unconditional love and companionship, but they can also pose a tripping risk if care isn’t taken. Not only can the animals themselves get underfoot, but their possessions may be lying around on the floor as well. Always place food and water bowls away from walkways so they don’t present a tripping hazard, and keep toys to a minimum.
If your smaller pet is prone to running around at your feet, put a bell on its collar so you always know where it is. For larger dogs that may jump, consider obedience training or restrict them to a separate room when senior relatives or guests are present. Of course, always walk your dog in well-lit, familiar places, that are free of ice and other hazards.
Injured in a Fall? Contact Us Today
Even when we are vigilant, accidents can still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of tripping, slipping, and falling on another person’s property, you may be entitled to damages under premises liability law. You might recover all the financial losses you sustained as a result of your injury, including medical bills and lost income. Your consultation is always free—contact Worcester personal injury attorney Peter Ventura today to discuss the specifics of your unique case.