How to Prevent Falls

The Problem:

  • Fall-related injuries are the #1 trauma hospital admission in northern Colorado for adults over 65 years of age.

  • Falls are the #1 cause of injury-related deaths for people over 65 years of age. Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.

  • Falls cause significant debilitating injury and loss of independence. Every 13 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency department for a fall-related injury.

The Solution – A multi-faceted approach with many partners to address:

  • Begin with a conversation with your primary care physician

  • Exercises to improve agility, balance, and mobility

  • Medication Review

  • Hearing and Vision screening

  • Home Safety Checks (Done by caregiver or yourself)

  • Home Safety Assessment (Done by an Occupational Therapist)

  • Physical Therapy (when prescribed)

Click here for more information on The Similarities and Differences Between OT, PT and ST

Safety Tips to Prevent Falls

 Stay in the moment.  Be mindful of what is going on with you and around you.

On Stairs:

  • Pay attention to steps and use railings

  • Look for torn carpet or broken steps

  • No need to rush

  • If you feel dizzy, stop and stabilize.  Take a deep breath.

  • If you continue to feel dizzy, sit down where you are and call for help.

In Your Surroundings:

  • Pause before entering a room…can you turn on a light before entering a dark room?

  • Look low (floor, street, etc.) to identify anything that might give you trouble (loose rug, curb, clothing, pets)

  • Look level to determine if anything is in your way.

  • Look Up to ensure there is enough lighting in the room.

What do you do if you fall?

  • Stop and stay exactly where you fell.  Take a couple deep breaths and do an injury inventory.  Does anything hurt other than your pride?  Move your legs, arms, shoulders, head.  If there is pain, seek medical help immediately (no matter what time of day it is!)

  • Do not try to get up right away.  Make sure you are not dizzy.

  • If you are not injured, scoot to the nearest piece of sturdy furniture.

  • Get on your knees facing the chair, table, etc.

  • Brace your hands and move to a squatting position, one leg at a time.

  • Sit down on the chair or couch and do another injury inventory.

  • Document your fall (did you trip, were you light-headed, did your vision blur, etc.) and tell your doctor to help figure out why you fell in the first place.

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