Falls are common, but they are able preventable and do not have to be an inevitable part of aging. Studies show that one of our four older adults will fall each year in the United States, which makes falling a public health concern—especially among the aging population. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, here are some facts about falls:
- One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
- Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
- Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling—usually by falling sideways.
- Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures.
Falls can be prevented. Here are some simple tips to follow to keep yourself on your feet:
- Ask your doctor to evaluate your risk for falling and discuss specific things you can do to reduce your risk.
- Review your medications with your doctor and check to see if any of them make you dizzy or sleepy. This includes over-the-counters medicines as well.
- Engage in exercises like Tai Chi that make your legs stronger and improve your balance.
- Have your eyes checked by your eye doctor at least once a year to check vision changes.
- Make your home safer by removing things you could trip over, install grab bars both inside and outside of your tub or show, put railings on both sides of the stairs and make sure your home has plenty of bright light.