Every second of every day in the United States an older adult falls, making falls the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Winter Weather Increases Falls
Often, falls are caused by dizziness or balance disorders, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a common condition we can diagnose and treat at Associated Audiologists. But winter, with icy and slick conditions, can make falling an even greater hazard, no matter what your age.
Tips to Prevent Falls
Here are some suggestions from the National Institutes of Health to help you prevent falls.
Prevent Outside Falls:
- Use a cane or walker if needed
- Wear rubber-soled shoes so you don’t slip
- When possible avoid walking on slick or icy surfaces but if you must:
- Walk on grass when sidewalks are slick
- Throw salt or kitty litter on icy sidewalks
Prevent Inside Falls:
- Keep rooms free of clutter, especially floors
- Use plastic or carpet runners
- Wear flat or low-heeled shoes
- Do not walk in socks, stockings, or slippers
- Be sure rugs have skid-proof backs or are tacked to the floor
- Be sure stairs are well lit and have rails on both sides
- Put grab bars on bathroom walls near the tub, shower, and toilet
- Use a non-skid bath mat in the shower or tub
- Keep a flashlight next to your bed
- Use a sturdy step stool with a handrail and wide steps
- Add more lights in rooms
- Buy a cordless phone or cell phone so that you don’t have to rush to the phone when it rings and so that you can call for help if you fall
If you have dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, or a history or fear of falling, you may benefit from a comprehensive equilibrium evaluation.
For more information about dizziness and balance disorders, download our free e-book, What to Know about Dizziness and Imbalance.