Trips, Fall, Bruises and Broken Bones
May 09, 2012
What’s really at risk?
Falls can lead to bruises, pulled muscles, and broken bones. That might not seem
like a big problem, until you know what’s really at risk. Research shows getting
hurt in a fall is more common than having a stroke. Being hurt in a fall can make
it hard to do things like bathe or walk. Falls can also be serious. Out of every
five people who break a hip, one person will move to a nursing home within one year.
People with broken hips are also four times more likely to die within three months.
Preventing falls may help you avoid a nursing home and live a longer healthier life.
There’s good news!
Research also shows that if you avoid broken bones, you’re likely to have less chronic
pain as you get older. You’ll also be able to get around more easily by yourself.
Talk to your doctor about steps you can take to reduce the chance you will fall
or break a bone - or keep from falling again.
10 Tips to prevent trips and falls
- Make sure you can see where you’re going. This might seem simple,
but some people fall because they can’t see well. Have your vision checked every
year. Take reading glasses off before you take one step. Make sure areas are well-lit,
and walk carefully if it’s dark.
- Get moving. Better balance and more strength come with exercise.
Do weight-bearing exercises such as walking, weight training, dancing, or climbing
stairs regularly to maintain healthy bones and muscles.
- Get screened. Talk to your doctor about a bone density test to
help catch bone loss early. Review your diet with your doctor to ensure you’re getting
menough calcium and take a calcium supplement if your doctor recommends it.
- Wear rubber-soled or nonslip footwear that’s comfortable, sturdy,
and fitting correctly. Keep laces tightly tied, and if you have trouble tying laces,
look for shoes with Velcro®.
- Arrange your furniture so that it does not block walkways. Be sure
that sofas and chairs are high enough so you can easily sit down and get up.
- Install handrails on both sides of stairwells. Be sure they are
firmly fastened in place.
- Improve lighting in your home. Place night-lights in hallways and
bathrooms to guide your steps in the dark. Add brighter lighting to areas that are
dark or dim.
- Review medications each year with your doctor or pharmacist to
learn about any potential side effects that could lead to a fall.
- Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower to improve
your stability on slick or wet surfaces.
- Reduce or remove tripping hazards. Keep your floors free of papers,
books, shoes, and clothing that could easily entangle your feet. Tape down or move
any electrical or telephone cords. Remove area rugs or check that they have a nonslip
backing on the bottom.