Even the soles of your shoes could save your life. | by the Washington State Department of Health | Public Health Connection | May 2022

Or the life of someone you love.

More than 1,000 people over the age of 60 in Washington state died in 2020 from injuries caused by accidental falls. And nearly one in three adults in our state age 65 and older fell that year.

Falls can be avoided, that’s why fall prevention is an important conversation to have with your family and friends. “Falls Prevention” is how we describe our work to prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves.

Regular balance and strengthening exercises are important to help you avoid falls and survive them if you fall.

Our state emergency care system is there to care for Washingtonians when we experience trauma, such as an injury. But the best way to avoid needing this help is to take steps to prevent an injury from occurring.

How to prevent falls

Here are 8 steps you can take to reduce the risk of falls inside and outside your home. And for those who are younger, please share them with the older people in your life.

  1. Do balance and strengthening exercises at least three times a week.
  2. Always wear shoes that fit your feet well and have sturdy, non-slip soles.
  3. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications for side effects that may cause falls.
  4. Have your vision checked by an ophthalmologist every year and wear glasses if your doctor prescribes them
  5. Make sure you have enough lighting in your home to be able to move around safely.
  6. Ask your doctor to do a fall risk screening and tell them if you’ve fallen recently.
  7. Make your home safer: put grab bars in the shower, add rails to both sides of your stairs, and remove throw rugs.
  8. Ask an audiologist to check your hearing if you or your family notice that you are having difficulty. Hearing is an important factor in keeping your balance.

Where to find out more

Our state Urgent care system takes a comprehensive approach to the management of traumatic injuries. These include injury prevention services, emergency medical services, hospital care and rehabilitation facilities. The system works to ensure resources are available, so patients are quickly connected to the right facility.

To learn more about preventing falls in older adults, visit Ministry of Health websitewhere you can find more information like this:

About Jeff M. Thompson

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