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How To Implement A Slip, Trip And Fall Prevention Program

September 22, 2020

Today is “Fall Prevention Awareness Day.” Every September, on the first day of fall, everyone is encouraged to host and promote activities to help older adults become more mindful of slip, trip and fall prevention tips. It’s also a chance for you to put together a fall prevention program for your home.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 1 in 4 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.

And according to the National Council on Aging, falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact.

Let’s look at the three major components of any slip, trip and fall prevention program on Fall Prevention Awareness Day.

Balance and Mobility Critical For Fall Prevention

In a study titled “Evidence-based Practices to Reduce Falls and Fall-related Injuries Among Older Adults” researchers concluded that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to prevent falls. But a critical part of maintaining balance and mobility as you age is exercise.

Another study found that there are several key components to a falls prevention exercise program.

  • Balance and coordination exercises, including modified Tai Chi exercises, practice in stepping and in changing direction, dance steps, and catching and throwing a ball.
  • Strengthening exercises, including exercises that used the participant’s weight (e.g., sit-to-stand, wall press-ups) and resistance-band exercises that worked both upper and lower limbs.
  • Aerobic exercises, including fast-walking practice with changes in pace and direction.

Participating in a fall prevention program like STEADI also can decrease your risk, while keeping you safe and independent.

Environmental Management’s Role In Fall Prevention

Home modification is changing the environment to make daily activities easier, reduce accidents, and support independent living. This includes:

  • Removing fall hazards such as clutter or loose rugs.
  • Adding supports such as handrails.
  • Changing how or where activities occur.

The National Council on Aging provides resources that will help you to decrease your risk of falling at home.

Other potential hazards include:

  • Steps that are too steep or too long
  • Poor lighting (too dim or too bright)
  • Pets
  • Unstable chairs or table
  • Extension cords across walkways
  • Toilet seat too low
  • Sloping driveway

The biggest preventative for any of these environmental hazards or fall risks is to be extra careful and having an astute awareness of your surroundings.

Medical Management To Stay Safe

Several classes of drugs have been associated with an increased risk of falling. Drugs that have been associated with falls include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotic
  • Diuretics

The drugs can cause dizziness, drowsiness and blurred vision.

Medication adherence is an important part of any health plan. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of Americans taking more than five prescription medications has nearly tripled in the past 20 years.

You should talk to your doctor about ways to put together a safe medication management plan.

Reduce The Risk

In the end, a good slip, trip and fall prevention program is about reducing the risk. If you’re unsure where to start, talk to your doctor. Another important element to fall prevention is staying ahead of any potential health issues. Our “Guide To Health Screenings For Men and Women” can help you determine which tests you need and when.

Midlife Health Screenings