Take action to limit hazards & avoid falls, fractures from falls are a leading cause of disability
As people grow older, the consequences of a fall grow more serious. Unintentional falls are the leading cause of injury deaths for adults ages 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries and account for more than 95 percent of hip fractures. In addition, fractures from falls are a leading cause of disability and often result in entering a nursing home.
As of Nov. 30, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crews had been dispatched to 6,465 reports of falls in 2021. That’s the equivalent of 19 falls a day.
Ground-level falls are one of the most concerning type of medical calls TVF&R firefighters and paramedics respond to because we know many aging adults struggle to recover from them.
Most falls happen in the home and can be avoided. Factors such as poor lighting, narrow stairs, and slippery surfaces can increase the chances of a fall. In addition, problems with glare, depth perception, tiredness, or dizziness from prescription medications contribute to falls.
Research conducted by Yale University showed that older adults are also most at risk of falling when they fail to use handrails on stairs, reach for objects overhead, and climb on chairs or ladders.
TVF&R reminds seniors and children of older adults to take the following precautions to help prevent a fall injury.
Take care of yourself
- Get regular medical check-ups and talk to your doctor to ensure appropriate levels and types of medication.
- Have your vision checked and replace eyeglasses as needed.
- Schedule regular hearing checks.
- Have your healthcare provider also check your feet to ensure you can walk comfortably.
- Exercise regularly and eat nutritious meals to fuel your body.
- Consider exercise programs such as yoga, tai chi, walking, and swimming, which improve stability, strength, and balance.
Remove existing hazards
- Fasten throw rugs to the floor with double-backed tape to keep them from slipping or remove them all together.
- Keep cords out of pathways and clean up spills as soon as they happen.
- Arrange furniture to minimize obstructions, and clear clutter from your living areas.
- Fix loose or uneven steps.
- Make sure carpet is firmly attached to every step or remove the carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs.
- In the kitchen, keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
- Wear well-fitting shoes with good support and non-skid soles. If recommended, use a cane or walker even for short trips.
- Turn on lights when walking through dark rooms or hallways.
- Use nightlights in all rooms.
- Install grab bars in the bathtub, shower, and toilet areas, and add handrails on stairwells.
- Place phones in multiple rooms or keep a cellphone with you in case you need to call for emergency assistance.
- Consider obtaining an emergency alert necklace or voice-activated system such as Siri or Alexa.
For more info, visit www.tvfr.com.