Preventing Falls at Home

| Posted On Jun 29, 2011 | By:

safety, bathroom, fall prevention, injury preventionAs we age, our likelihood of taking a fall in our home increases dramatically.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. Among those age 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury death as well as the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

Statistics show that 60% of falls happen in the home, while 30% happen in a public setting and only 10% in a health care facility. The most common place for falls in the home is the bathroom, so that may warrant the most focus when assessing risk. A CDC report shows that 65.8 per 100,000 falls happened in or around the tub or shower, followed by 22.5 per 100,000 injuries were sustained on or near the toilet while standing up from, sitting down on, or using the toilet.

Some reasons for a fall are muscle weakness, postural control, medical conditions and the environment. If you believe you or a loved one are at increased risk for a fall, a physical therapist can perform gait assessments as well as home hazard assessments and modifications, including recommending adaptive equipment such as shower stools, toilet seat risers and stair lifts.

Here are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of falls:

If you do fall, follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:

It’s important to take the time to assess risk factors for a fall and make the necessary adjustments to help avoid a serious or life threatening injury to yourself or a loved one.

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About Jay Cigna

Joseph “Jay” Cigna, PhD, MSPT is a licensed physical therapist with clinical, teaching and research experience in the role of rehabilitation in the management of chronic conditions. Jay works at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates at the Peabody location. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), serves as an APTA national committee member and locally as Assembly representative for the Massachusetts APTA chapter. He serves as an adjunct professor at Salem State University where he teaches research design and statistics to students in health professions studies.

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