8 Outdoor Fall Prevention Tips You Should Know About
Each year, one out of every three American adults age 65 and older falls, and falls in this age group are the leading cause of injury death. Trips and stumbles outside are more common than to lose footing indoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 20-30 percent of people who fall sustain moderate to severe injuries including fractures, lacerations or head traumas. For the elderly, injuries from taking a spill often limit mobility and increase the risk for early death.
Nearly half of tumbles outdoors are related to walking, particularly on uneven sidewalks or tripping over curbs. Those at highest risk for falling outdoors are individuals with balance, vision or cognitive impairment, or weakness in the lower extremities. Fortunately, the chances of a loved one falling can be drastically reduced if they integrate these fall prevention tips into their daily lives:
- Stay aware of uneven terrain or slippery surfaces (watch for holes, tree roots and ice).
- Check the height of curbs and steps before stepping up on them or down from them.
- Walk on grass if sidewalks or roads appear to be slippery or uneven.
- Wear correct eyewear when walking (reading glasses or bifocals can distort the ability to see potential hazards).
- Wear sunglasses to prevent glare.
- Walk in well-lit areas in the evening to provide the most visibility for hazards.
- Walk hands-free using a fanny pack or an over-the-shoulder bag.
- Wear sturdy, low-heeled shoes for better balance.
The Mayo Clinic also lists several fall prevention tips. Right at Home Greater Portland caregivers are trained to help seniors with balance issues use walkers or canes and step carefully onto curbs or up steps. The adult home care professionals also can keep an eye on decks, porches and steps for worn-down areas or loose nails. Limiting outdoor fall hazards keeps everyone safe to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
What fall prevention methods would you suggest for seniors?