According to the National Council on aging, more than 1 in 4 adults age 65+ fall every year. This results in 3 million emergency room admissions to treat falls injuries. Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and their consequences cost the U.S. healthcare system $50 billion annually. Falls account for $29 billion in Medicare spending and $9 billion in Medicaid spending. Fall rates and health care spending are projected to rise as the older adult population is estimated to increase by 55% by 2060.
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If you have difficulty with balance or walking, or you have fallen in the last six months, talk to your doctor about conducting a fall risk assessment. Your doctor may suggest a home exercise program or some physical therapy to help you get stronger and keep you free from falls. For those who at risk of falling, there are many solutions you can add to your home to help keep free from falls.
Here are the top ten tips provided by Mobility Doctor to prevent falls:
- Be mindful that your hallways, stairways, and paths are well-lit and clear of objects such as books, shoes, and other clutter.
- Use rails and banisters when going up and down the stairs. Never place decorative rugs at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Pick up all area rugs. They are frequently the cause of falls in the home.
- Do not rush to answer the telephone. Many folks fall trying to answer the phone. Carry a cordless phone or a cellular phone with you for safety. Remember that you can also let your answering machine or voice mail pick up. You can always call someone back if you are otherwise occupied.
- When walking on slippery or smooth floors, wear non-slip footwear such as slippers with rubber/no slip bottoms or flat, thin-soled shoes that fit well.
- Have grab bars installed in the shower and near the toilet to make getting around easier and safer.
- Use rubber mats in the bathtub to prevent slipping and treat your bathroom floors with non-slip treatment.
- If you use a cane or a walker it is important to remember to use them when going from room to room in your home. It is common practice for seniors to hold on to the walls or furniture when in the comfort of their own home. That is not advised. Always use the assistive devices prescribed by your doctor.
- Consider a power wheelchair or scooter when you go out of the house so that you don’t get tired when walking far distances and always have a place to rest if you need to.
- Speak to a mobility specialist to learn how ramps, stairlifts, and lift recliners can offer you a life without limitation and accessibility to all areas of your home.
One fall can change a senior’s life. The more we can raise fall prevention awareness, the safer our aging population will be. Join in our initiative to evaluate, educate, and empower an aging loved one or client.
About Mobility Doctor: Mobility Doctor provides mobility & accessibility solutions for people who are faced with limited physical mobility.