Unintentional Falls

According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide with an estimated 646,000 individuals dying from falls each year. In the United States, the number of deaths from falls is over 34,000 with three million people aged 65 and older seeking treatment in emergency departments as a result of falls.

What happens after a fall?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that one in five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or a head trauma. These injuries limit mobility and the ability to perform activities of daily living which can even prevent an older person from living on their own. Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can also result from head injuries.

How to prevent falls
Falls can be prevented. These are some simple things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.

  • Talk to your doctor
    • Ask your doctor or healthcare provider to evaluate your risk for falling and talk with them about specific things you can do to prevent falls.
    • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines to see if any might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines.
    • Ask your doctor or healthcare provider about taking vitamin D supplements.
  • Participate in a class proven to reduce falls risk
    • Tai Chi for Arthritis through Putnam Hospital is a good way to make your legs stronger and improve your balance.
    • A Matter of Balance in Dutchess County helps you change your thoughts about fear of falling and learn how to change your environment to reduce falls risk.
  • Have your eyes checked
    • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed.
    • If you have bifocal or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes these types of lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
  • Make your home safer
    • Keep your home and surroundings neat and remove objects that can be tripping hazards.
    • Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
    • Put railings on both sides of the stairs.
    • Make sure your home has lots of light by adding more or brighter light bulbs.

Download these useful tips to modify your home to prevent falls.