Falling is scary, and hundreds of thousands of patients a year are hospitalized due to injuries from a fall. Follow these tips to help prevent falls, or to take care of yourself if you do fall.
- 1 in 4 Americans age 65 and older are at risk of a fall.
- 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized due to fall-related injuries.
- 44% of falls occur inside the home. These falls occur most frequently in the bedroom, dining room, and kitchen.
- 20% of fall result in serious injuries such as hip fractures, wrist fractures or traumatic brain injuries
- If someone cannot stand after a fall, they are at risk for hypothermia, dehydration, and pressure ulcers.
Plan B: always have a way to call for help
If you do fall, make sure that you have a way to get help quickly.
- Cell phone: call a family member, friend, neighbor, or 911 if you are injured.
- Emergency alert system: to call 911 for help, often using a button around the neck
- Phone apps: such as Lifeline Response, Man Down, iMed Alert, or 5star
Hazards in the home
Watch out for these common hazards that increase the risk of a fall.
- Throw rugs
- Clutter/boxes on the floor
- Wet bathroom/kitchen floor
- Stairs/stair runners
- Walking while carrying other objects
How to get up if you do fall
- Take a minute. Don’t try to get up right away.
- Assess yourself. Are you injured? If you’re injured, call for help before you get up.
- Even if you’re not injured, is there anyone nearby who can help you?
- Look for something sturdy nearby, like a chair or a stair, to help you get up.
- If you’re on your back, slowly roll over onto your front.
- Slowly get to your hands and knees and make sure that you’re steady.
- If you’re not next to it, crawl towards the sturdy item.
- Use the chair or stair to help you kneel, and then go from kneeling to sitting in the chair or on the stair. Don’t try to stand up directly.
- Sit and make sure you’re steady before you try to stand.
- When you stand, wait several moments to make sure you’re ok before you try to walk again.
Ways to prevent falls in your home
- Work on strengthening your legs.
- Work on your balance.
- Keep your house clear of tripping hazards.
- Go for daily walks.
- Limit the number of things you carry at a time.