StepSmart to Prevent Falls
According to Mark Tesoro, Analyst/Educator at Lee Memorial Trauma Center, there are two imperative takeaways from his presentation: Falls are NOT a normal part of aging. And falls are preventable.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports:
- One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
- Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
- Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths.
- In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.
- The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $67.7 billion by 2020.
The good news is that there are easy changes that can prevent falls in the first place.
In a one-hour seminar that included a personalized balance assessment, Mark shared a wealth of statistics and information pertaining to the seriousness of falling – plus more than 100 tips for making home a safer place with small but important changes.
He shared that Lee Health’s trauma department was inundated with patients injured from falls, many of which could have been easily avoided.
Based upon helpful tips provided by StepSmart Collier, Inc., “getting older doesn’t have to mean giving up your home but seniors must keep in mind that living at home comes with a greater risk of falling and being injured or worse. The list of 100 tips for making your home a safer place includes small changes you can make that can make a big difference. Each area of your home has its own potential hazards.”
Seventy percent of falls in the home occur in the bathroom. To make the bathroom safer, StepSmart Collier advises:
- Place non-skid mats or strips inside and around the bathtub, near the toilet and sinks
- If needed, use shower chairs and bath benches
- A single lever, anti-scald mixing faucet is recommended for the bathtub
- Remove throw rugs and bathmats
- Make sure the bathroom door opens outward
- Install door locks that can be opened from inside and outside
- Have a safe and accessible place for medications
- Use a long handled brush to assist with bathing
- Make sure the bathtub or shower doors are made of safety glass or plastic
- Grab bars should be installed on walls by the bathtub and toilet
- Install a hand-held showerhead with flexible hose in the shower
- Make sure towel bars and shower soap dish are firmly installed
- Be sure all bathroom outlets have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that protect against electrical shocks
The tips list goes on to address changes in the kitchen, bedroom, living room, stairways and halls, general home interiors, and immediately outdoors.
At the conclusion, Mark reiterated the importance of his two takeaways: Falls are NOT a normal part of aging. And falls are preventable.
About The Terraces at Bonita Springs
Recreation, special events, holiday celebrations, educational programs, guest speakers, and a variety of inspiring activities take place throughout the year at The Terraces at Bonita Springs (www.TheTerracesatBonitaSprings.com) as part of the community’s active lifestyle programs. The Terraces is the only Life Plan Community for senior living in the Bonita Springs area. Living choices include independent living, assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. All levels of care, including assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory support are open for direct admittance, with no entrance fee.
For more information, visit TheTerracesatBonitaSprings.com or call 239.221.8907.