Pop quiz: What is the leading cause of injury and death in older Americans? Cancer? Nope. Heart attack? Try again. The answer? Falling down.
According to a recent study by the CDC, in 2014 elderly Americans experienced more than 29 million falls, resulting in seven million injuries. Queens has the second largest population of residents over the age of 60 in New York City, and it’s important for them to known that one fall could have serious consequences.
Luckily, such serious falls can be be prevented. Here are 5 easy ways that you can prevent falls in you or your loved one’s home, courtesy of Laurie Chichester, MS, a licensed physical therapist and VP at MJHS.
1. Lights the way at nighttime to prevent falls in the dark
Falls are not limited to daytime. That middle of the night bathroom trip could lead to an actual trip and fall if your path isn’t lit properly. Install night lights or motion sensor lights near potential tripping hazards or obstacles.
2. Put everyday necessities in easy to reach places
Are there things in your kitchen or bathroom that you use every day? Don’t hide them away on high shelves or in hard to reach places! Keep your everyday needs on the counter or a low shelf so you can grab it with ease.
3. Dress yourself for safety
Choose your winter clothes wisely. Keep your laces tight and tuck away any loose clothing – anything can get snagged on something, which could cause a serious fall.
4. Keep floors clear of irregular bumps
Throw rugs can spice up the look of your floor, but they can be a potential tripping hazard. Keep your floors free of debris, rugs or other tripping hazards that could land you in the hospital with a serious injury.
5. Get tech-savvy and arm yourself with fall detection equipment
There are all kinds of fall detecting equipment and emergency alert devices available, so why not protect yourself with one? They could mean the difference between getting help when you need it or laying alone on the floor for hours (or even days) after a serious fall.