It's the first day of autumn today, which means people are breaking out their sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes and starting to plan for the upcoming holidays.
Here's one more thing we can add to the list of fall traditions: thinking about fall prevention. Falls are a big deal, especially in elderly populations. It's all in the numbers (via Centers for Disease Control & Prevention):
- 20% of falls cause serious injury (e.g., broken bones, head injury)
- 2.5 million seniors are treated for fall-related injuries annually
- Almost all (95%) of hip fractures are caused by falls
- Brain injuries are most commonly caused by falls
Tips for Preventing Falls via Mayo Clinic
- Make an appointment with your doctor, who can consult you on your fall risk based on medications, health conditions and fall history
- Get exercise - even a gentle activity like walking or tai chi
- Wear supportive shoes (no slippers, high heels or flip tops)
- Keep your home tidy and remove fall hazards such as loose rugs and floorboards, spilled liquids and slippery surfaces
- Keep your home well-lit
- Use a cane or walker to help you stay steady
You can never be too cautious. Consider buying a panic alarm, mobility device alarm or personal alarm in case you fall and can't get up.