Slips and falls happen in the home most often, but they also occur when a person is out and about. Serious injuries resulting in broken bones, brain damage and even loss of mobility occur within 30 yards of a home in most cases.
Whether you’re walking around the neighborhood or in your own backyard, these tips can help you prevent dangerous falls.
1. Stay Focused and Analyze Your Surroundings
A small dip in the pavement or ground can cause you to lose your balance and a fall. If you’re on the cellphone or looking up at the sky, you’re at a higher risk of falling than if you concentrated on your surroundings.
You’ll want to:
· Note step depth and height
· Scan the ground for uneven areas and holes
· Note any pulled-up carpets or edges where you might trip
Your surroundings make a major difference in your ability to maintain balance. If you stay focused, you’re reducing the risk of a potential fall.
2. Don’t Rush
The reason people speed is because they rush. And the reason a lot of people fall is because they’re rushing to get to their next destination. The National Council of Aging states 25% of Americans over the age of 65 fall each year.
Every 19 minutes an older adult will fall to their death.
Over 2.8 million injuries in emergency rooms per year are due to falls. If you take your time, scan your surroundings and meditate on each step you take, you can avoid being another slip and fall statistic.
If you’re rushing, you’re risking your safety.
A good rule of thumb is to:
· Plan to arrive early
· Keep an open schedule before and after an important appointment
If you can plan ahead, you’ll reduce your risks of falling.
3. Use the Proper Medical Devices and Aids
If your doctor notes that you have foot drop and advises you to wear an artificial foot orthotic, you need to wear them. An ankle that drops can lead to falls up steps, twisted or broken ankles, and trips on carpets and edges.
Numerous mobility aids can help a person maintain their balance and reduce falling risks.
You have multiple options available when it comes to mobility aids, including:
· Canes – a good choice for minimal balance issues
· Knee Walkers – a good choice when one leg is injured
· Walker – extreme balance assistance
· Rollator – a walker with wheels that adds balance, but doesn’t hinder speed
Orthotics and mobility aids can be recommended by a physical therapist or a doctor. If you’re having issues with balance, ask a doctor or physical therapist how you can strengthen your muscles and walk safely to reduce the risk of falling.
4. Avoid Slippery and Icy Conditions
If the weather is bad outside or you’ll be walking in from the rain on to a tiled floor, you have a much greater risk of slipping. You’ll want to avoid:
· Newly waxed floors
· Slippery falls
· Ice and snow
Salts and sand placed on the ground to help reduce ice and snow can lead to falls, too. People using canes are particularly at risk of slipping on rock salt and sand.