Fall Prevention Awareness Day is the first day of autumn

The first day of autumn marks Fall Prevention Awareness Day. This is an elder care issue as falls are the leading cause of deaths from injury in older Americans. New Jersey seniors are also emotionally affected as well as physically. Even the fear of falling can trigger anxiety for an older adult. The anxiety can cause older adults to lose their confidence. As a result, they may limit their activities–leading to depression, isolation, and feeling helpless.

Fall Statistics from the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

  • Falls occur in one out of three people 65 and older each year
  • Every 15 seconds, a senior is treated in the hospital ER for a fall
  • Every 29 minutes, an older person dies as the result of a fall
  • Among older people, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries
  • More than 2.3 million injuries related to falls are treated in ERs annually–650,000 hospitalizations and 20,000+ deaths
  • Financially, the annual cost of falls may reach $54.9 billion by 2020

Tips to help prevent falls:

  • Remove throw rugs or make sure they are attached firmly to the floor
  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairway
  • Remove clutter for walking paths, and keep walkways well-lit
  • Do not use extension cords if they do not hug the wall; they could be a trip hazard
  • Install grab bars in the tub, toilet, and shower are
  • Use non-skid mats in the shower/tub
  • Wear shoes/slippers that fit snugly
  • Don’t wear clothing that drags the ground