Did you know that falls are the leading cause of death and serious injuries among people age 65 and older? Two categories of factors contribute to these falls:
- Personal factors, which include muscle weakness, balance problems, limited vision and certain medications
- Environmental factors, which include home hazards such as loose rugs, poor lighting (especially on stairs) and a lack of stair railings or grab bars in the bathroom
Senior citizen safety tips and facts
To stay safe, read these tips and facts:
- Many falls happen when you lose your balance. Exercising regularly and rising slowly after eating, sitting or lying down can help avoid dizziness and loss of balance.
- Improper use and handling of medication can create serious safety concerns. Check medication expiration dates on all prescription and over-the-counter medications – and follow all directions.
- Store medications in their original containers. If you must transfer medications to different containers, mark the new container clearly – and don’t forget to transfer the expiration date.
- Post National Poison Control Hotline and other emergency numbers next to all phones for quick access. Also store these phone numbers in your mobile phone.
- Nationally, motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the country. Driver behaviors like speeding, distractions, impairment and not wearing seatbelts contribute significantly to motor vehicle injuries and fatalities.
- Consider wearing an alarm device in case you fall and cannot get up on your own.
- Get an eye exam at least once a year. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition that limits your vision.
Prevention safety for senior citizens
Prevent unnecessary falls and improve your safety by making yourself aware of the environmental hazards. Then take action to have them corrected by:
- Installing secure handrails and bright lights with switches at the top and bottom of stairways.
- Repairing loose or uneven steps, checking stairs for worn or loose carpeting and installing anti-slip treads.
- Always wearing shoes with traction and making sure throw rugs are placed over rug liners with non-skid backing so that you avoid falls throughout the house.
- Installing grab bars for the toilet, bathtub and/or shower, and using non-slip mats or decals on ceramic surfaces both inside and outside the tub.
- Installing nightlights in areas you frequent at night. Also, consider keeping a flashlight near your bed.
- Storing frequently-used items on lower shelves in the kitchen to limit the use of stools or step-ladders. If you must use a step stool, use one with a bar to hold onto.