Leaves are supposed to fall; people aren’t
As the temperature starts its downward trend, and the days get increasingly shorter, it's time to start thinking about autumn and winter falls risks and how you can eliminate or reduce them.
- Leaves, branches and other debris from trees due to the change in seasons can make walkways slippery or hide tripping hazards, like uneven surfaces, edges and steps. Keep walkways clean, and if you can't see that the surface is clear and flat, pick another path.
- If winterizing your home includes cleaning gutters, changing light bulbs or other tasks that require you to get up high, use a step ladder or a step stool with a handle, and maintain three points of contact (two feet and a hand, or two hands and a foot) at all times. Do not climb on chairs or other furniture that was not designed for that purpose.
- Shorter days mean less direct sunlight and less sunlight overall, meaning you may need more light to get around your home safely. Invest in extra lamps, nightlights and exterior pathway lights to make sure you can always see where you are walking, especially around doorways and stairs. Use the highest-wattage bulb recommended for your fixtures.
- Don't let the cooler weather and shorter days limit your activity. Exercise that builds and maintains strength and balance is important to prevent falls year-round. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about indoor exercises that can help you maintain strength and balance when you can't venture out.
- As the temperature drops, bundle up to stay warm, but make sure you can see in all directions and move easily and freely.
- Keep shoes and walking aids (canes, walkers) free of dirt and mud. Dry them off immediately upon coming in from wet conditions. Remember, wet shoes are just as dangerous as wet floors.
Weather and Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults
Autumn Weather Safety for Older Adults
More falls prevention tips...
10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls
For the second year in a row, the STEADY U Initiative called on all Ohioans to help take "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls." Getting 15-30 minutes of physical activity every day is one of the most basic things you or a loved one can do to reduce your risk of falling. Walking strengthens muscles, improves balance and increases stamina, all of which can make you steadier on your feet.
Throughout the month of September, 59 partner organizations organized 55 community events to raise awareness of older adult falls prevention and, most importantly, provide opportunities for Ohioans of all ages to get moving. More than 3,500 Ohioans walked approximately 6,800 miles - that's 17 million steps!
Thank you to all the organizations and individuals who helped make this event an undeniable success!
News Release: 59 organizations, 3,500+ Ohioans help exceed "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls"
Take a falls risk self-assessment.
Did you know...?
- Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans aged 65 and older
- An older Ohioan falls every minute on average, resulting in an injury every five minutes, an emergency department visit every six minutes, two hospitalization each hour and three deaths each day.
- Approximately 16 percent of Ohio citizens are age 65 or older, yet this group accounts for more than 85 percent of fatal falls.
- The total estimated cost of falls (medical costs, work loss) is $1.9 billion annually in Ohio, or $5.2 million each day.
- About three out of five falls among older Ohioans occur in the home; one in four falls occur in a nursing home or other residential facility.
- Falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented!
It Takes Everyone
Most falls in older adults can be prevented. A person's risk for falls goes down the minute he or she stops being afraid of falling. Preventing falls for every older Ohioan will take a community approach.
Everyone - from the individual and his family, to doctors and nurses, to business owners and managers, to community leaders and more - has a role to play in preventing falls. It's like the old saying goes, "united we stand, divided we fall." What's your role in preventing falls in Ohio?
If you wish to become involved in the STEADY U initiative, contact us or subscribe to be notified of opportunities. Opportunities include community falls prevention coalitions, serving as a lay leader in the A Matter of Balance Program, and more.
Falls Prevention in the News
About STEADY U Ohio
STEADY U Ohio is a statewide collaborative falls prevention initiative, supported by Ohio government and state business partners to ensure that every county, every community and every Ohioan knows how they can prevent falls, one step at a time. This website is the source in Ohio for falls prevention information, tools and other resources.