Fall Facts

FallNo, I’m not talking about the season even though it is October. I’m talking about one of the most prevalent risks to the health and well-being of the senior population. Statistics from the CDC reveal that at least one third of those age 65 and older fall at least once every year. Falls are also the leading injury related cause of death in those over 65. Even if a fall is minor, quality of life is affected when older adults develop a fear of falling such that they severely limit their activities. FallNo, I’m not talking about the season even though it is October. I’m talking about one of the most prevalent risks to the health and well-being of the senior population. Statistics from the CDC reveal that at least one third of those age 65 and older fall at least once every year. Falls are also the leading injury related cause of death in those over 65. Even if a fall is minor, quality of life is affected when older adults develop a fear of falling such that they severely limit their activities.

These facts tell me that we should all adopt fall prevention practices into our lifestyle and encourage our older loved ones to do the same. The risk is too great to ignore.

As Elder Care Coordinator for Elder Law of East Tennessee, I often go to clients’ homes to help them determine what they can do to best meet their care needs safely. I rely on guidelines published by several organizations including the Mayo Clinic to identify ways clients can best protect themselves against falls. Here are a few such tips:

  • Stay active and exercise
  • Review medications with your doctor for any that might affect good balance
  • Get your vision checked regularly
  • Be sure your home is well lighted, especially hallways and stairways
  • Have sturdy handrails wherever you use stairs
  • Remove electrical cords and/or clutter from pathways
  • Remove all throw rugs
  • Wear supportive, well-fitting footwear

When clients live alone, I often recommend personal emergency response devices that allow them to summons help if they fall and cannot get to a telephone. These devices are relatively inexpensive and can provide peace of mind to the older adult as well as their family or caregivers.

It is important, especially for family members or caregivers to remember that while it is wise to do all in one’s power to prevent falls, falls happen, anywhere, anytime, and often no one is at fault. The best we can do is help seniors stay as healthy and alert to fall risks as possible. Elder Law of East Tennessee can help create a reliable support system that is ready and able to respond if a fall should occur.

Now, go enjoy the season but watch your step while you’re at it.