Trip and Fall Risks
No one is immune to falling, but some of us are more apt to have this potentially injury-causing event happen. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury. Physical therapist Linda Banos, with LVPG Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, says the combination of age-related risk plus tripping hazards contributes to this increased risk of injury.
While you can’t control the aging process, Banos says it is important to think about physical risk factors that may contribute to your own fall risk. “Physical changes associated with aging, plus health conditions and sometimes medications make us more at-risk for falling,” she says.
Physical fall factors to consider:
- Slow reflexes can make it difficult to move out of the way of a tripping hazard
- Balance problems
- Decreased muscle strength
- Poor vision
- Medications (can make you feel dizzy, confused, sleepy)
- Drinking alcohol (slows reflexes, causes you to feel drowsy, alters your balance)
Tips to prevent falls
In combination with physical factors, there may be trip hazards right in your home. Banos suggests ways you can help reduce your risk of falling, starting with your walking surfaces.
- Remove hazards such as boxes, newspapers, electrical cords from walkways
- Secure loose rugs with double faced tape or slip resistant backing
- Repair loose floor boards
- Immediately clean up spilled liquids or food
- Use nonslip mats in bath or shower
- Install grab bars for shower, tub or toilet
- Use night lights in hallway, bedroom or bathroom
- Turn on lights before going up or down stairs
- Store flashlights in easy to find places
- Install handrails for stairways
- Non slip treads for bare-wood steps
“And don’t forget that wearing nonslip, sensible shoes that fit properly can go a long way to prevent falls,” Banos says. Also, speak with your primary care provider about any medications you take that may affect your sense of balance, and make sure to mention any recent falls you may have experienced.
For more information about ways you can build your strength and balance –
Contact: Linda Banos at the Health Center in Mountain Top, 570-261-5169 or 888-402-LVHN (5846).