What should you do if you fall? Follow these 4 steps for fall safety:
1. Don't panic.
2. Figure out if you're injured.
3. Slide or crawl to the nearest stable object to support standing up.
4. If you can't stand up, call for help.
Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
Who doesn't find those viral videos of people slipping, tripping, and falling funny?
As humorous as these videos may be, what they usually don't show is the aftermath of those incidents.
The truth of the matter is that falls are the second most common cause of unintentional home-related injury deaths, the National Safety Council reports. And your chances of injuring yourself from falling increase as you age.
In fact, one out of three adults over the age of 65 falls each year ‹ but not even half of them talk to their physicians about it, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Falls are the main cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults in the US.
That's why fall safety is so important. Here are 5 tips for preventing slips, trips, and falls:
1. Know The Potential Side Effects of Your Medications.
11 Easy Ways to Fall Proof Your Home
1. Install short, dense carpet.
2. Secure rugs with double-sided carpet tape.
3. Keep electrical cords out of the way.
4. Make sure walkways are brightly lit.
5. Use lamp shades to reduce glare.
6. Create access to switches and outlets.
7. Use nightlights in dimly lit areas.
8. Install handrails on both sides of stairways.
9. Invest in a sturdy step stool with handrails.
10. Use rubber bath mats in the tub or shower.
11. Install grab bars in the bathroom.
As a person gets older, he may take medications that can increase his chances of falling by causing dizziness or slowing reaction time, says the AARP.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any potential side effects to your medications that may put you at risk of falling and injuring yourself.
It's also important to keep in mind that alcohol can sometimes increase the severity of these side effects.
2. Get Your Vision Checked.
Older adults should have their eyes checked ‹ and their eyeglasses prescription updated ‹ at least once a year, says the CDC.
The CDC also recommends getting a pair of single-vision distance glasses instead of bifocals. These are best for activities like walking outside, which may increase a person's risk of falling.
3. Exercise To Maintain Strength, Coordination, and Balance.
As a person ages, her balance and strength may decrease. This can increase her chances of falling and injuring herself, the AARP explains.
Gentle exercise routines ‹ such as yoga ‹ can help improve balance, muscle tone, and strength.
Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. And be aware of your body's limits ‹ don't push yourself further than you should.
4. Practice Safe Walking.
This may sound silly, but if you use a cane or walker, make sure it is adjusted to your height. Otherwise, these tools meant to help you maintain balance and prevent falls could actually end up doing the opposite.
5. Fall Proof Your Home.
Making adjustments around the house is perhaps the biggest step you can take to prevent falls.
If you've fallen in the past, consider investing in a personal medical response system, such as a wristband you can activate to alert emergency services. This is important because people who have fallen before are more likely to fall again, says the AARP.