Reducing the risk of falls and accidents is one important way to help minimize the risk of senior hospitalization.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
1 out of every 3 adults age 65 and older falls each year.
Falls are also the leading cause of injury-related death in older adults, as well as the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
Falls are also one of the leading causes of readmission after adults are discharged from the hospital or a rehabilitation facility.
Tips on Fall Proofing your Home:
Walk only in well-lit rooms and always turn on the lights.
Remove boxes, newspapers and all clutter from pathways.
Install motion or sound activated lights.
Secure loose area rugs with a rubber, slip resistant backing.
Arrange furniture so that you have a clear pathway between rooms.
Keep stairs clear of packages, boxes or clutter.
Provide enough light to clearly see each stair.
Remove all throw rugs.
Secure area rugs near the bottom and tip of stairs with a rubber, slip-resistant backing.
Place a lamp, telephone and flashlight near your bed.
Sleep on a bed that is easy to get in and out of.
Install a nightlight along the route between your bedroom and the bathroom.
Replace satin sheets and comforters with non-slip fabrics such as flannel.
Place a slip-resistant rug or rubber mat adjacent to the bathtub.
Place a rubber mat inside the tub.
Replace glass shower enclosures with non-shattering material.
Keep a nightlight on in the shower.
Install grab bars on the shower walls.
Clean up any food, grease or liquids spilled on the floor.
Store food, dishes and cooking equipment within easy reach.
Do not stand on chairs to reach upper cabinets.
Keep the path between your driveway and the front door, as well as the pathway between the mailbox and your front door well-lit and clear of debris.
Install motion-detector lights so they turn on automatically when you step outside at night.
During the winter months keep salt and shovel near the front door.
Avoid wearing high heels.
Tie your shoes laces and never walk in bare socks.
Wear properly fitting shoes with rubber, non-skid soles.
How Can I Prevent Broken Bones if I Fall?
Sometimes you cannot prevent a fall. If you do fall, you can try to prevent breaking a bone. Try to fall forwards or backwards (on your buttocks), because if you fall to the side you may break your hip. You can also use your hands or grab things around you to break a fall. Some people wear extra clothes to pad their hips or use special hip pads.
How Can I Keep My Bones Healthy?
Some ways to protect your bones are:
Get enough calcium and vitamin D each day.
Walk, climb stairs, lift weights, or dance each day.
Talk with your doctor about having a bone mineral density (BMD) test.
Talk with your doctor about taking medicine to make your bones stronger.
What to do if you fall?
Do not PANIC!
Take several deep breaths, assess the situation and determine if you are hurt
If you are badly injured, do not try to get up. Call for help!