Slips, trips and falls can happen anywhere and can result in serious injuries or death. Millions of Americans seek medical treatment from falls every year. Falling is especially common and dangerous for people 65 and older. Roughly, one in four older people fall each year. But people of any age can suffer serious injuries from a fall at home, in the workplace or while simply going about their business.
You can take steps to prevent slips, trips and falls by being aware of hazards in your home, workplace or other surroundings.
Take your time. Get out of chairs slowly. Sit a moment before you get out of your bed. Stand and get your balance before you walk. Be aware of your surroundings.
Keep stairs and walking areas free of electrical cords, shoes, clothing, books, magazines, and other items.
Clean up food, drink and other spills immediately and make sure walkways and steps are smooth and puddle-free.
Stairways should be well lit from both the top and the bottom. Have easy-to-grip handrails installed along the full length of both sides of the stairs.
Be aware of uneven surfaces indoors and outdoors. If you must have scatter rugs, make sure they lay flat and do not slide when you step on them. Smooth out wrinkles and folds in carpeting. Be aware of uneven sidewalks and pavement outdoors. Ask a family member or friend to clear ice and snow from outside stairs and walkways and always use hand rails if available. Step carefully.
Improve the lighting in and outside your home. Use nightlights or a flashlight to light the path between your bedroom and the bathroom. Turn on the lights before using the stairs. See an eye specialist once a year—better vision can help prevent falls.
Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors. Have grab bars installed on the wall next to the bathtub, shower, and toilet. Wipe up spilled liquids immediately.
Exercise regularly to build strength and improve your balance and coordination. Ask your doctor about the best physical exercise for you.
Wear sturdy, well-fitting, low-heeled shoes with non-slip soles. They are safer than high heels, thick-soled athletic shoes, slippers, or stocking feet.