Rosemont, Ill – Approximately 66 million Americans care for their aging parents and each year, one in three older Americans fall in their own home. Just this week, 93 year-old actress Zsa Zsa Gabor fell out of bed and broke her hip, ultimately she required hip replacement surgery. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) knows that a fall in the home can be both life threatening and debilitating. Older Americans and their caregivers can take a proactive approach using the following AAOS guidelines to help keep seniors fall and injury-free.
Tips for the Home:
- Eliminate all tripping hazards, such as loose rugs in the home.
- Install grab bars or handrails on both sides of the stairway and other safety devices near bathtubs and beds.
- Place a lamp or flashlight near the bed.
- Keep clutter – like pets’ toys or papers – off the bedroom floor.
- Replace satiny bed sheets with products made of non-slippery material; i.e. wool or cotton.
- Arrange furniture to allow a clear pathway between rooms.
- Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or slip-resistant backing.
- Keep stairs clear of packages, boxes or other clutter.
- Install light-switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. Or, try motion-detector lights that turn on automatically.
- Put non-slip treads on each bare-wood step.
- Consider adding rails to the bed to prevent the sleeping person from rolling off.
- Keep track of pets, as these creatures are responsible for more than 86,000 fall-related injuries each year.
- Wear properly-fitting shoes or slippers with non-skid soles, throughout the home and especially on stairs.
- Replace slippers that have stretched out of shape and are too loose.
- Never walk with socks or stockings on hardwood floors.
- Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you cannot get up from a fall.
Watch the: 60 second television ad on falls prevention, Alone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2cfBBnt3Fo&feature=player_embedded
AAOS has more resources on falls:
- Guidelines for preventing falls
- Getting up from a fall
- Lifting techniques for caregivers
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The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: With more than 35,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (www.aaos.org or www.orthoinfo.org) is the premier not-for-profit organization that provides education programs for orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals, champions the interests of patients and advances the highest quality musculoskeletal health. An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician who treats the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. Follow the conversation at www.facebook.com/AAOS1 or www.twitter.com/AAOS1.