A Comprehensive List of Resources In Support of Fall Prevention Awareness For Older Adults
- To prevent accidental falls, older adults should conduct a home safety assessment, maintain an exercise routine, be fully engaged in their healthcare, and participate in community-based programs.
- Raising awareness of this issue is easy to do: become a safety ambassador, share adult fall statistics, share videos, tips, reports, and studies with clients, customers, patients, neighbors, and friends.
- A perfect place to start is by contacting your local aging and disability resource center.
3 million older adults are treated in emergency departments each year for fall injuries, including head and hip fractures.
In Broward County, in 2018 there were 4,278 non-fatal hospitalizations caused by falls by adults over the age of 65 and there were 79 adults over the age 65 who died as a result of an unintentional fall.
Because we believe raising awareness to the issue of fall prevention will reduce these numbers, we created this page of resources and actionable information for you, someone you love, a patient, a customer, a friend, a local resident or neighbor, or anyone else who just wants to help with this cause.
What Should Older Adults Do To Prevent Accidental Falls In A Residential Setting?
1. Conduct a Home Safety Assessment
There are areas within the home that should be assessed for potential hazards when it comes to accidental falls. Maintaining a clear path to the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom is a key step to take to stay safe at home.
Take simple actions like moving furniture, removing or moving throw rugs, securing electrical wires, securing handrails in the shower or tub, routinely cleaning the shower or tub floor, and having adequate lighting.
- Follow The Home Fall Safety Checklist From The CDC: This simple to use checklist outlines issues to look for and steps to take in critical areas of the home, including floors, steps and stairs, to reduce the number of accidental falls at home.
- Learn From an Aging In Place (AIP) Contractor: This certified AIP contractor expert discusses topics related to home modifications that create a smart, safe, and contemporary place to live.
2. Maintain A Healthy Exercise Routine
Having a regular exercise schedule helps to improve muscle strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance, and reduce most of the risk factors for falling.
- Get Involved In An Evidence-Based Fall Prevention Program: See a list created by the NCOA of programs that have been proven to help older adults reduce their risk of falling.
- Learn 9 Simple Exercises To Stay Strong and Safe: SilverSneakers.com shares a list of common exercises that any older adult can do to improve heart health, strength, balance, and mobility.
3. Be an Active Participant in Healthcare
Three out of every four older adults take at least one medication commonly linked to falls.
This means it is critical to optimize medications by stopping, switching or reducing dosages and reviewing their side-effects with prescribers and a pharmacist. It also means having an annual eye exam to review any changes in vision that could affect balance.
- Review This Medication Risk Fact Sheet: Read this easy to follow information from the CDC to help you reduce the risk of a fall including learning the side effects to look for and creating a personal action plan.
- Have Your Doctor Conduct Tests That Require Lab or Expert Analysis: Your doctor can order blood and urine tests to check for things that can impact your fall risk, such as electrolyte balance and the possibility of infection. Other tests may be needed that require expert review and analysis, including a bone density test.
Older adults and seniors should also talk about issues like making adjustments to assistive devices and identify and discuss footwear issues like shoe fit, traction, insoles, heel height, with other medical-related professionals, including:
- physical therapists
- occupational therapists and
4. Participate In Community Based Programs
Some local municipalities are very active in offering programs to prevent falls by older adults.
For example, some EMS departments are trained to assess fall risks of seniors while the first responder is at a home.
And some Broward County cities, like the City of Sunrise, offer free “Matter of Balance” workshops.
- Attend A “Matter of Balance” Program Sponsored By The Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County: This goal of this award-winning program, which is offered in cities across the country and is usually free to attend, is to reduce the fear of falling, manage falls and increase activity levels of older adults.
How Can You Raise Awareness And Learn About Fall Prevention?
Below are 5 actionable ways to start learning about fall prevention and to bring awareness to this issue.
1. Become a Safety Ambassador
Did you know that you can become a National Safety Council Safety Ambassador? You can make a difference in safety. The NSC Safety Ambassador Program encourages adults, students and anyone who cares about fall prevention to bring safety back home and into their communities to keep their friends, neighbors, and loved ones safe.
- Learn What To Do To Become a Safety Ambassador: Here you will find the forms and requirements to become an NSC Safety Ambassador and how to raise awareness of the issue of fall prevention.
2. Share Older Adult Fall Statistics
- Visit FloridaHealthCharts.com: This searchable database from the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics can give you statistical insight into fall data from across the state or right here in Broward County.
- Read This Special Emphasis Report: Fall injuries Among Older Adults For The Period 2005-2014: A 6 page highly detailed report on older adult falls from the Florida Department of Health with graphs and charts about the growth of these falls, costs and demographic data.
3. Share Videos About Fall Prevention
- 6 Steps To Prevent A Fall: A video from the National Council On Aging teaching older adults and their families how to avoid a fall.
- Preventing Falls Video: A well-produced video for seniors from Kaiser Permanente, on preparing yourself and preparing your home for fall prevention.
4. Share Fall Prevention Tips, Steps, and Ideas
- Take Steps to Remain Independent Longer: Fall Prevention: Learn simple steps to take to stay safe at home from the National Safety Council (NSC).
- Learn Simple Tips To Prevent Falls From The Mayo Clinic: Learn 6 simple steps to take now to prevent falls and maintain your independence from the Mayo Clinic.
5. Share Studies, Reports, and Scholarly Articles on Fall Prevention
- Read A Research Report From Yale University for Fall Prevention: This resource was created by the Yale School of Medicine in conjunction with clinicians in Hartford, Connecticut to develop methods for incorporating fall risk assessment and treatment into the care of older adults.
- Overcoming Obstacles to Effective Senior Falls Prevention and Coordinated Care: This white paper put out by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is essentially a toolkit aimed at helping seniors overcome the barriers to fall prevention.
More Resources to Help Older Adults And Raise Awareness
- Learn the Latest From The CDC on Older Adult Falls: A general list of resources, expert commentary, and news releases related to older adult falls published by the Centers for Disease Control.
- Find A Fall Prevention Program Near You: The eldercare locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging which allows you to search for local services for older adults and their families.
- Visit StopFalls.org: The official website of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, which aims to identify best practices in fall prevention and help communities offer fall prevention programs to older people who are at risk of falling.
- Search #FallPrevention on Twitter: An ongoing and up-to-date feed of material, resources, and tips related to the Fall Prevention hashtag on Twitter.
- Fall Prevention From a Physical Therapists Point of View: This excellent article from the Florida Physical Therapy Association is one of many put out by the organization that focuses on fall prevention and intervention and age-related changes.
- Learn About National Fall Prevention Awareness Day From The NCOA: Get ideas from the National Council on Aging to celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day in your community on Sept. 23, 2019, and listen to live broadcasts, webinars, and chats.
What Should You Do Now?
Get involved and spread the word about Fall Prevention. You can do this by sharing and linking to this page, hosting a fall prevention awareness day activity or by getting involved with a local program. A perfect place to start is by contacting our local aging and disability resource center: The Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County (ADRC) at 954-745-9567.
Want to Learn More?
Check out our comprehensive list of Florida law based Slip and Fall Articles.