PREVENTING FALLS OF OLDER ADULTS

North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District understands the importance of fall prevention of older adults – those 65 and older. Of the thousands of older Americans that fall at home each year, many of them are seriously injured, some are disabled and others die.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one of four older adults falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor. The CDC also indicates that falling once doubles your chances of falling again.

During 2014, approximately 27,000 older adults died because of falls; 2.8 million were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries, and approximately 800,000 of these patients were subsequently hospitalized.

Furthermore, these stats are even higher in Collier County. According to Step Smart Collier, the death rate for senior falls is 55% higher in Collier County as compared to statewide statistics, and is the leading cause of injury and death to seniors in Florida.

In the North Collier Fire District, injuries sustained from falls are the most common medical call for service and account for 20% of all medical calls.

These are sobering statistics. North Collier Fire urges you to take the time to review the checklist below for yourself or for older adult friends and family members who may be here for the season or visiting on vacation.

Floors

  • Ensure that when you walk through a room, you do not have to walk around furniture.
  • Remove throw rugs or use double-sided tape or a non-slip backing so rugs won’t slip.
  • Always keep objects off the floor (papers, books, towels, shoes, magazines, boxes, etc.)
  • Ensure that you do not have to walk around wires or cords (like lamp, telephone, or extension cords)? Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them.

Stairs & Steps

  • Always keep objects off stairs (shoes, books, etc.)
    Fix loose or uneven steps.
  • Ensure there is enough lighting overhead on stairs.
  • Make sure that there is a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Make sure that carpet on stairs is firmly attached to every step, or remove the carpet and attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs.
  • Fix loose handrails or put in new ones. Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs and are as long as the stairs.

Kitchen

  • Move items that you use often to lower shelves.
  • If you must use a step stool, get one with a bar to hold on to. Never use a chair as a step stool.

Bathrooms

  • Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the floor of the tub or shower.
  • Have a carpenter install grab bars inside the tub and next to the toilet.

Bedrooms

  • Place a lamp close to the bed where it’s easy to reach.
    Put in a night-light so you can see where you’re walking.

Other

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise makes you stronger and improves your balance and coordination.
  • Have your doctor or pharmacist look at all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy.
  • Have your vision checked at least once a year by an eye doctor. Poor vision can increase your risk of falling.
  • Get up slowly after you sit or lie down.
    Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
  • Improve the lighting in your home. Put in brighter light bulbs. Florescent bulbs are bright and cost less to use. It’s safest to have uniform lighting in a room.
  • Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce glare.

Falls can be prevented. Take the time to review these preventative measures to keep your loved ones safe.

The Board of Fire Commissioners
North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District