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Fall prevention

From our Trauma Education Team

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) One-fourth of Americans aged 65+ falls each year.  Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.  According to OSHA, falls are also the leading cause of death in workplaces such as construction.  Following these tips can help prevent falls and life changing injuries.

  1.  Stay active.  Focus on exercise that can help increase your strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.  If you are afraid of exercise because you are afraid that it may cause you to fall talk to your doctor and they may suggest something like physical therapy who can establish an exercise program that aims at increasing balance, strength and coordination. OCAHS Physical Therapy offers an Active Older Adult Class Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 – 11:00 and Revive Class Tuesday & Thursday 12:00 – 12:30.  Call 712-707-6060 to sign up. 
  2. Keep your home and workplace free of hazards.  Slipping and tripping are some of the most common reasons for falling.  Keep cords out of places where you might walk.  Avoid having newspapers or magazines on the floor.  Remove all rugs, as these are a common cause of trips and falls.  Place things that you use on a daily basis in a place that is easy to access.  Watch entrances and exits for water puddles that may cause you to fall.  Use grab rails if you have them, and install grab rails in places such as bathrooms.  
  3. Wear appropriate shoes.  Avoid bare feet or only wearing socks.  Wear shoes that provide good traction and have rubber soles.  Ensure that your shoes fit appropriately and are tied well.  Avoid leather or plastic soled shoes. 
  4. Keep your hands free.  Watch where you are walking.  Avoid looking at your cell phone or anything else while walking so you can see hazards in your path.  Also, keep your hands out of your pockets, your arms help you balance as you walk.
  5. Exit your vehicle safely.  When leaving your vehicle swing both feet out of the vehicle and step onto the ground instead of just stepping out with one foot.  This will provide you with more stability.
  6. Walk with stability.  Walk slowly, taking shorter, smaller steps when walking, especially in the winter when the risk for falling is higher. 
  7. Plan ahead.  Leave early so you are not rushed.  If you are working on a project, ensure you have everything you need to do it safely so you do not cut corners and compromise your safety.         
Caution symbols with stick figure man falling. Wet floor, tripping on stairs, fall down from ladder and over the edge. Workplace safety and injury vector illustration.