McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

May 6, 2014

Cut risk of older adults falling with safety measures

Sometimes trips and tumbles are unavoidable.

But, for older adults, who are at increased risk for falling, it is important to take steps to protect themselves, especially at home.

Falling is scary enough, but sometimes the resulting injuries end up affecting older adults’ independence and quality of life.

The good news is most falls can be prevented.

Given that May is Older Americans Month, it is a good time to focus on this topic. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults 65 and older. Furthermore, 20 percent to 30 percent of those who fall sustain moderate injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures or head trauma.

Balance and gait, vision, medications and chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis can contribute to older adults falling.

So, too, can the home environment.

Common hazards around your house could include items on the floor, poor lighting, loose rugs and less-than-sturdy furniture.

The first step to ensuring your home is as safe as possible from falling hazards is to do a simple walkthrough identifying potential problem areas.

For guidance on how to conduct an assessment, review the CDC’s “Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults at www.cdc.gov/injury. (Click on “Home and Recreational Safety, select “Falls — Older Adults” and choose “Publications and Resources.”) The publication is available in English, Spanish and Chinese.

Meanwhile, try to be objective about your clutter.

Clearing out the clutter can be fun, but also emotional.

If you don’t want to tackle the project alone, make it a group project by inviting friends and family to help.

Make sure there is enough room to move around your furniture and for assistive devices such as wheelchairs to easily navigate.

There should be at least 32 inches of clearance between pieces of furniture.

 Leave 18 inches between the coffee table, if there is one, and the couch or other furniture to allow people to comfortably move through the space.

Installing proper lighting will go a long way to ensuring older adults can comfortably move throughout their homes and enjoy everyday tasks such as reading.

Shadows can be as much of a falling hazard as low or no light.

You can put nightlights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways, and consider keeping flashlights in easy-to-find places in case.

Finally, do not forget to install secure rails along both sides of staircases and put in grab bars in the tub or shower and near the toilet.

There are lots of easy and inexpensive ways to make the home safer for older adults. Taking the time for simple tasks like screwing in a light bulb or tightening a bolt on a stairway railing can help reduce the risk of injury.

LaDell Emmons is the family and consumer science Extension educator for Pittsburg County. Contact her at ladell.emmons@okstate.edu or 918-423-4120.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Saundra Kaye Offill

    Saundra Kaye Offill, 67, lost her 7 year battle with Alzhiemer’s on Thursday, July 10, 2014. She was born in McAlester, Oklahoma on March 11, 1947, to Louis and the late Melba Vanlandingham.

    July 16, 2014

  • Square logo.jpg ‘Is anything sacred anymore?’

    Editor:
    What do we know about the “The Star Spangled Banner” ?

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg Any hope in new MPD facility?

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donald Sterling needs to go away

    Whether it happens due to a quick settlement or a likely longer trial, Clippers owner Donald Sterling just needs to go away.

    June 19, 2014

  • CHRIS-MORRIS-2.jpg Prescription drug abuse

    Tip of the Week
    You can be arrested for driving under the influence of prescription medication, so follow your recommended dosage or don’t get behind the wheel.

    June 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kevin Durant Kevin Durant’s grace period will end soon

    After his 7th season ended Saturday with the Thunder’s Game 6 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, the grace period for Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant may soon be drawing to a close.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Billy Guy Ferrell

    Billy Guy Ferrell, died Saturday, May 24, 2014, at a nursing home in McAlester.

    May 30, 2014

  • Square logo.jpg Congress faces risky decision on National Security, local aerospace jobs

    When you’re in the middle of errands and your fuel gauge hits the red zone, what do you do? Skip the gas station and try to make it back home on ‘E’? Even if you make it home, what will you do the next time you need to drive your car? It’s not worth the ten minutes saved. Who wants to be stranded on the side of the road, forced to walk to the nearest filling station or wait for a tow?

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Lamb From the Capitol: Staycation in Oklahoma

    With the summer travel season quickly approaching, many Oklahomans are making plans for their summer vacations. I would encourage Oklahomans to look in our own backyard and explore all that Oklahoma has to offer this summer. All ages and all travel enthusiasts can find something of interest here at home.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.