Falls are common and costly, especially among Americans age 65 and older. But falls are preventable and do not have to be an inevitable part of aging.
Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S.—making falls the leading cause of injury and injury death in this age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Falls have become a public health concern, especially among the aging population.
The CDC offers these facts about falls among older adults:
- More than 35 million older adults fall each year—resulting in thousands of deaths.
- A significant percentage of these falls result in an injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
Falls are not a normal part of aging. You can keep on your feet and avoid the risk of a fall. Take steps to stay safe and independent longer. Senior centers and fitness centers often offer classes specifically targeted to helping older adults retain muscle strength and balance, both of which are critical for avoiding falls.
Here are some other ways to protect yourself from falls as you age:
- Talk openly with your doctor about fall risks and prevention.
- Tell your doctor right away if you have fallen, if you’re afraid you might fall, or if you feel unsteady.
- Review all of your medicines with your doctor or pharmacist and discuss any side effects like feeling dizzy or sleepy.
- Have your eyes checked annually and update your glasses, as needed. Conditions like cataracts and glaucoma limit your vision.
- Have your feet checked. Discuss proper footwear with your doctor and ask whether seeing a foot specialist (podiatrist) is advised.
Make Your Home Safe
- Get rid of trip hazards. Keep floors clutter free.
- Add grab bars in the bathroom.
- Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
Check out the Centers for Disease Control website for more information about fall prevention. Visit: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/older-adult-falls/index.html.