Preventing Falls at Home
September is National Falls Prevention Month. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including more than 800,000 hospitalizations.
Although falls can occur at any age, senior adults are most vulnerable due to mobility challenges, hearing and vision loss. Chronic medical conditions, including arthritis, stroke, incontinence, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia can also be risk factors for falls. Injuries from falls can range from a minor scrape to serious fractures or concussions requiring immediate medical care.
Knowing how to prevent falls is key to maintaining your well-being and independence. In recognition of National Fall Prevention Month, Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation’s Kelly Masterson, clinic director of the Outpatient Clinic in Silver Spring shares the following tips to help you and your loved ones prevent falls and stay safe at home:
- Check hearing annually. Poor hearing can lower your ability to notice sounds that can warn you of danger.
- Check vision annually
- Exercise regularly to maintain strength and balance
- Wear snug, comfortable and slip resistant shoes. Loose fitting shoes and sandals such as flip-flops do not provide necessary support and may increase your risk of falling.
- Clear your floor: Remove clutter, small furniture, pet gear, electrical cords, throw rugs and anything else that might cause someone to trip and fall
- Ensure there is adequate lighting throughout your home, particularly on stairs
“While it isn’t possible to completely eliminate your risk for falls, taking some of these steps can reduce your chance of falling,” said Masterson. “If you do have a fall or are afraid you might fall it is important to speak to your doctor or a primary care provider. You may benefit from physical therapy for falls prevention and balance training.”
Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation provides expert inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care to help individuals with fall-related injuries heal faster and return to optimal activity. Using physical and occupational therapy, our treatment team can help reduce pain and swelling, decrease stiffness in the joints and muscles, and increase range of motion.