People of all ages fall: toddlers learning to walk, children playing sports, and adults who are distracted or in a rush. For some, the outcome may only be a bruised ego, but falls among older adults can have much more significant consequences. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, unintentional injuries, and hospital admissions for trauma.
“People often think that only frail older adults need to be concerned about preventing falls, but most older adults who fall outdoors are healthier, more active, and take fewer medications than those who fall indoors,” says Jon Pynoos, the UPS professor of gerontology, policy and planning at the USC Leonard Davis School.
You might be familiar with common fall risks such as throw rugs on the floor or medications that make you dizzy, but sometimes the things we do can increase the risk of falling. When you are out and about — be it for exercise or an errand — it is important to be aware of your surroundings.
- While walking on sidewalks, watch out for cracks, holes, and uneven areas.
- Always look ahead at your path. These days, common trip hazards range from tree roots and fallen leaves to abandoned bird scooters.
- Of course, be extra careful during and after stormy and wet weather when surfaces become slippery.
- Take your time – hurrying across streets puts you at risk of falling. Slowing down, and thinking about your actions can help you avoid a trip or slip. This is especially important while talking or texting on your phone. According to a recent study from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has more than doubled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60% of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking.”
StopFalls.org, the website of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence (FPCE), at the USC Leonard Davis School, addresses risks and potential solutions regarding falls in various circumstances, including home safety and outdoor falls. The FPCE is also joining the 2018 Morton Kesten Summit on Aging in Place at The Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Midtown at USC on Friday, October 5, 2018. Attend to learn more about fall prevention, one of the four key areas of supportive home environments.