You have likely heard the phrase “most accidents happen at home.”
The statistics say that is true. According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, more accidents happen at home than anywhere else, and there are approximately 6,000 annual deaths as the result of a home accident.
Further, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that one in three older Americans falls every year, and falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+. The most common injuries from falls are hip fractures, broken bones and head injuries.
To reduce the risk of falls in the home, step-one is to reduce household hazards.
In addition to an unsafe in-home environment, NCOA recognizes these other common factors that can lead to a fall:
* Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination and balance making it easier to fall.
* Vision: As the eyes age, less light reaches the retina making obstacles and contrasting edges harder to see.
* Medications: Some medications can cause dizziness or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
* Chronic conditions: Problems like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis often increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, or the need for multiple medications.
The CDC promotes a variety of community-based programs, like A Matter of Balance, Stepping On, and Tai Chi, that can help older adults learn how to reduce their risk of falling. Contact your Area Agency on Aging to find out what’s available near you.
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