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Report from Falls Free – National Council on Aging


Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, unintentional injuries, and hospital admissions for trauma. Falls can take a serious toll on older adults’ quality of life and independence. To recognize this critical issue, at the state level, SCR 77 (D-Lowenthal) was passed in 2008 declaring the first week of Fall each year as Fall Prevention Awareness Week.

At the heart of this initiative is the message that falls are preventable. During Fall Prevention Awareness Week, fall prevention coalitions, health care providers, and senior service agencies will hold presentations, health fairs, screenings, and workshops to raise awareness among older adults and their families and caregivers, elder care professionals, and the general public about the seriousness of falls and ways to reduce fall risk.

Falls are the number one cause of injury, hospital visits due to trauma, and death from an injury among people age 65 and older. It is estimated that one in three older adults falls each year. Falls among older adults is a serious issue, but research has shown that many fall risks can be reduced.

Falls are especially dangerous for people with osteoporosis. If you break a bone, you might need a long time to recover. Learning how to prevent falls can help you avoid broken bones and the problems they can cause.

Share these tips with your patients and clients:

Some ways to help prevent falls indoors are:

§ Keep rooms free of clutter, especially on floors
§ Use plastic or carpet runners
§ Wear low-heeled shoes
§ Do not walk in socks, stockings, or slippers
§ Be sure rugs have skid-proof backs or are tacked to the floor
§ Be sure stairs are well lit and have rails on both sides
§ Put grab bars on bathroom walls near tub, shower, and toilet
§ Use a nonskid bath mat in the shower or tub
§ Keep a flashlight next to your bed
§ Use a sturdy stepstool with a handrail and wide steps
§ Add more lights in rooms
§ Buy a cordless phone so that you don’t have to rush to the phone when it rings and so that you can call for help if you fall.