Is Your House Safe from Falls? Check for These 8 Things

September 21st, 2021

Senior woman helping husband (80s) climb staircase.

Many people think the most serious risk for traumatic injuries come from car crashes. But in reality, the most common traumatic injury happens from a fall, and they can occur right inside your house.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that one in four older adults (age 65 plus) falls every year in the United States. “Every 11 seconds in the U.S., an older adult is treated in the Emergency Room (ER) for a fall,” says Forrest Fernandez, MD. Trauma Program Medical Director with Grand View Health’s accredited Level II Adult Trauma Center.

That same high frequency of falls is seen locally. Since January 1, Grand View Health’s trauma team has treated 764 patients with falls. That makes up nearly 70% of all trauma cases seen at the hospital.

As we recognize Fall Prevention Awareness Day, the trauma team at Grand View Health wants to help you reduce the risk of falls. Start with these 8 items in your home:

  1. Clear floors and stairs of trip hazards, such as objects or wires
  2. Install handrails or grab bars on staircases and in the bathroom
  3. Keep your home well lit
  4. Place commonly used items on the lower level of all cabinets
  5. Do not climb on chairs to reach items that are out of your grasp
  6. Remove any and all throw rugs
  7. Use non-slip mats in the shower or bathtub
  8. Be aware of uneven surfaces on sidewalks or other areas outside of your house

A few other smart fall prevention tips:

  • Know your medications. Talk with your doctor if any of your medications make you lightheaded or dizzy.
  • Check your eyesight and hearing once a year.
  • Wear proper footwear. Make sure your shoes are in good repair. Don’t use slip-on shoes or slippers.
  • Get your exercise. Choose a routine that combines balance, walking and flexibility, Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.

In addition, check your personal risk for falls. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Have you fallen in the last 6 months?
  2. Do you use a cane or walker to assist walking?
  3. Are you afraid of falling?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be at an increased risk for falls. You also can assess your falls risk with this 12-question falls free check-up from the NCOA.

Learn more about the Level II Adult Trauma Center at Grand View Health.