Published on October 25, 2018

Help prevent life-changing falls

Senior man climbing stairsIn the seconds it takes for you to fall ...

... your whole life can change.

It can mean a trip to the hospital, an injury or a broken bone.

“Falls can prove devastating to nearly anyone, but particularly so for older people,” says Deborah Ludwig, PT, Regional Director of Operations, Mercy Home Health.

More than 1 in 4 people 65 or older in the U.S. fall each year. Injuries from falls can make it hard to get around, do everyday activities or live independently.

“But the good news is that there are many things you can do to help prevent falls—both inside your home and out,” Deborah says.

One more tip: Have your eyes and hearing checked regularly. Even small changes in these senses can lead to falls.

Preventing falls indoors

  • Keep your floors free of clutter. 
  • Either get rid of area rugs or make sure they have skid-proof backing. 
  • Be sure any stairs are well-lit and have rails on both sides. 
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom next to the shower or tub. 
  • Put a flashlight next to your bed, and use it if you need to get up at night. 
  • Keep a cordless phone or cellphone with you so you can call for help if you do fall.

Preventing falls outdoors

  • Use a cane or walker if you’re unsteady on your feet. 
  • Wear shoes with nonslip rubber soles. 
  • Walk on the grass when sidewalks are slippery. 
  • Throw handfuls of kitty litter in front of you when sidewalks are icy.