Falls can be deadly. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries. Each year, at least 25,000 older adults die as a result of falls. And the rate of fall-related deaths among older adults in the United States has been rising steadily over the past decade.
People are living longer and falls will increase unless we make a serious commitment to preventing them. Fortunately, there are several tools and evidence-based programs that can help reduce risk of falling and falls-related injury.
A fall risk factor is something that increases a person’s chances of falling. This may be a biological characteristic, a behavior, or an aspect of the environment. These risk factors include:
Biological risk factors
Behavioral risk factors
Environmental Risk Factors
Falls can be prevented. These are some simple things you can do to keep yourself from falling.
Talk to your doctor
Get your eyes checked
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year, and be sure to update your eyeglasses if needed.
If you have bifocal or progressive lenses, you may want to get a pair of glasses with only your distance prescription for outdoor activities, such as walking. Sometimes these types of lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
Make your home safer
As a caregiver, you can encourage your loved ones to take action to reduce their fall risk.
The EnhanceFitness program is a low-cost, evidence-based group exercise and falls prevention program. The program strives to help older adults at all levels of fitness become more active, energized, and empowered to sustain independent lives. The EnhanceFitness program also may help reduce risk factors associated with falls.
To learn more about EnhanceFitness or find a free/low-cost class near you, visit: https://projectenhance.org/
Study For Rural Innovations In The Delivery Of Exercise (STRIDE)
The HIPRC research team is partnered with Arbor Health and Sound Generations, a rural serving health care system in Lewis County, Washington, to recruit older adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA) to participate in the study. Researchers interviewed the study participants to understand their technology needs and preferences for virtually delivered exercise (tele-EF). The study participants attended a 1-hour tele-EF classes 3 days a week for 12 weeks. After completing the tele-EF program, participants were asked about their satisfaction with the program and suggestions for improving it.
HIPRC found that remotely delivered EnhanceFitness improved arthritis-related pain and physical performance among rural older adults in Lewis County. EnhanceFitness is a group-based, instructor led exercise program recommended by the CDC for people with arthritis
A checklist from the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention can help you check your risk for falling.
Falls Prevention Week 2022 – (PDF)
Falls Prevention Week 2022 – (PNG) | (JPG)
Falls Can Be Prevented – (PNG) | (JPG)
Kushang Patel, PhD, MPH – HIPRC Research Core Director, UW Research Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and UW Adjunct, Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine – (PNG) | (JPG)