There’s No Place Like Home for Preventing FallsPosted by Medicare Made Clear
Falling is a real danger for older adults. Here are a few facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1:
- More than 1 in 4 older adults suffers a fall each year
- Serious injury results from 1 out of every 5 falls
- Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling
Hip fractures can be very serious and may lead to other health problems. Other fall-related injuries may include cuts, broken bones and head trauma.
Many Falls Happen at Home
About 60% of falls happen in and around the home, according to the National Institutes of Health.2 A few simple fixes may help make your home safer.
Home repairs and updates that may help prevent falls include:
- Repair any cracked or uneven walkways, steps and floors inside and outside your home.
- Install stair railings—on both sides of the stairs when possible.
- Install sturdy grab bars near the bathtub, shower and toilet.
- Put light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. You need to be able to turn the light on or off from either location.
- Repair or replace loose or frayed carpeting.
- Remove small rugs or use double-sided tape to secure them to the floor.
- Put bright lights throughout your home, especially on the stairs.
Balance and Strength Exercises May Help Prevent Falls
Making home repairs is one way to get your body moving – so keep it going! Physical activity can help increase strength and improve balance. Doing a few simple balance exercises on a regular basis could help reduce the risk of falling.
Physical activity may help increase confidence as well as muscle strength. This is important because a fall can cause more than physical injury. It can leave an older adult feeling uncertain and vulnerable.
A fear of falling sometimes leads to limited activity overall. Long-term effects, including muscle weakness, may make it hard to get around and live independently.
Falling can cause injury at any age. But the effect on older adults may be serious and long lasting. A little prevention may go a long way toward living safely at home for years to come.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.