Our elder population is at significant risk for falls and injuries related to falls, with statistical data showing that approximately one-third of seniors - those age 60 and older - fall annually.
Medical Factors Contributing to Falls
- Four or more medications
- Poor vision
- Balance problems
- Alcohol use
- Medical problems
- Fall within the past six months
Environmental Factors Contributing to Falls
- Poor lighting
- Scatter rugs
- Extension cords
- Snow and/or ice
- Wet floors and spills
- Unsafe stairs
- Poor footwear
- Lack of safety equipment in bathrooms
Suggestions for Modifying a Home
- Install hand held showers
- Use a cordless phone
- Use a walker basket
- Install sensor night lights, stair railings, lighted wall switches
- Use clocks with lighted dials
- Install grab bars for the toilet and shower and/or tub
- Raise the height of chairs and sofas
What Elders and Their Families Can Do
- Report any fall to your physician or healthcare provider as soon as possible
- Make your home safer (see above)
- Eat nutritiously
- Exercise regularly
- Notify the Fall Assessment Team at the Berkshire VNA at 413-447-2862
Falls Risk Self Assessment
At least half of all falls happen at home. Each year, thousands of older Americans experience falls that result in serious injuries, disability and even death. Falls are often due to hazards that are easy to fix. Use the following self-assessment tool. Check all the risk factors below that apply to you and your home. The more factors checked, the higher your risk of falling.
- History of Falling - 2 or more falls in the last 6 months
- Vision Loss- changes in the ability to detect and discriminate objects; decline in depth perception; decreased ability to recover from a sudden exposure to bright light or glare.
- Hearing Loss- may not be as quickly aware of a potentially hazardous situation.
- Foot pain/Shoe problems- foot pain; decreased sensation/feeling; skin breakdown; ill fitting or badly worn footwear.
- Medications- taking four or more medications; single or multiple medications that may cause drowsiness, dizziness or low blood pressure.
- Balance and Gait Problems- decline in balance; decline in speed of walking; weakness of lower extremities.
- High or Low Blood Pressure- that causes unsteadiness.
- Hazardous inside your home- tripping and slipping hazards, poor lighting, gravel or debris on sidewalks, no handrails, pets that get under foot, hazardous materials(snow, ice, water, oil) that need periodic removal and clean up.
Visit www.homesafetycouncil.org to learn more about how to keep your family safe!