Falls are the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospital stays and deaths among Ohioans age 65 and older.
But, falling is not a natural part of aging and most falls can be prevented. Knowing and managing your fall risk factors can help prevent falls and reduce your fear of falling so you can live an active, independent life.
Fall prevention around your home
Most falls are preventable and there are things you can do to reduce your risk of falling at home.
- Secure loose rugs with double-sided tape, tacks, or slip-resistant backing.
- Use night lights and light bulbs with the maximum wattage safe for your light fixtures. Install a night light along the route between your bedroom and bathroom.
- If your home has stairs, repair loose stairway carpeting or wooden boards. Do not store items in stairwells or hang items on hand rails.
- Arrange furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms. Also, keep electric, appliance and telephone cords out of walkways, but do not put cords under a rug.
- Make sure your floors are free of clutter.
- Place a lamp, telephone or flashlight near your bed. If you wear glasses, keep them close by at night or when you are napping.
- Use slip-resistant rugs in your bathroom, especially next to the tub or shower.
- Store food, dishes, cooking equipment and other frequently-used items within easy reach.
- Clean up spills as soon as they happen.
- If you have a LifeLine or emergency response device, wear it at all times.
Other tips around the home:
- Consider purchasing a cordless phone or answering machine so you don’t have to get up quickly to answer the phone.
- Consider purchasing a sturdy step stool with side rails.
- Add extensions to pull cords on lights and ceiling fans so they are easy to reach.
- Use caution on icy, slippery or uneven surfaces.
- At home or out and about, wear proper clothing and footwear. This includes shorter pants, skirts and bathrobes, and supportive rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes.
Stay healthy to prevent falls:
- Stay active to help build muscle and bone strength and improve balance. Talk to your doctor or care manager about simple exercises and activities you can do in your home.
- Review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist annually for side effects that may increase your risk of falling - especially if you are taking four or more medications.
- Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses.
- Don’t rush! Take your time, especially when getting out of bed or standing up if you have been lying down or sitting for an extended period of time.
- Stay hydrated to prevent low blood pressure, fatigue and confusion. Drink 6-8 glasses of non-alcoholic liquids each day.
- Eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of vegetables and calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cheese, milk, orange juice, tofu and calcium-fortified cereals to promote your health.
Speak up to prevent falls!
In addition to these tips, be sure to talk to your care manager or doctor if you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions. You may be eligible for services, home modifications or equipment that could help prevent a fall.
- Are you taking four or more medications?
- Do you have difficulty standing in the shower?
- Do you have difficultly standing up or sitting down at a chair, bed or the toilet?
- Do you use furniture (chairs, tables, dressers) to steady yourself as you walk around?
- Do you use the towel bar in your bathroom to help you get up and down from the toilet or in and out of the bath/shower?
- Do you stand on a chair or box to reach items that are out-of-reach?
- Do you have difficultly with household chores such as sweeping, laundry and cleaning high or low spaces?
Fall Prevention Resources
STEADY U OHIO
Hamilton County Fall Prevention Task Force
Council on Aging is a proud participant in Ohio’s STEADY U campaign. STEADY U is a statewide fall prevention campaign led by the Ohio Department of Aging to prevent falls and fall-related injuries and deaths among Ohio’s older adults. More information is available at www.steadyu.ohio.gov.
The Hamilton County Fall Prevention Task Force
works to reduce falls and fall-related injuries in older adults through community collaboration, awareness, education and effective interventions. The Task Force's website inlcudes information specific to older adults and caregiveers
, including an online falls risk assessment
and home safety checklist