Family members and other caregivers can help seniors evaluate their homes for fall-inducing hazards. These include electrical cords, loose rugs, and small items of furniture, such as coffee table, plant stands, and magazine racks. Some types of footwear – high heels, floppy slippers, and shoes with slick soles – contribute to falls. Assistive devices – like grab bars in the shower or tub, hand rails on both sides of a staircase, and nonslip treads on stairs – can be easily installed and can prevent injuries and save lives.
It is also important to make sure the home has adequate lighting and that light switches are easy to access. Night lights and bedside lamps are essential, as are working flashlights in easy-to-find places.
There are many organizations throughout Maine, including several Area Agencies on Aging, which offer important fall awareness programs such as fall risk assessments and exercise and balance programs. In addition, our resolution urges relevant federal, state, and local organizations to work to help educate seniors about ways they can reduce the risks of injury, or death, that may result from a fall.
Falling is not an inevitable consequence of aging. Practical lifestyle adjustments, evidence-based prevention programs, community partnerships, and continued research are among the tools available to reduce falls. It is my hope that our bipartisan Senate resolution will help raise awareness of falls and, in turn, help reverse the national trend of increasing senior falls.
Preventing Falls Among our Nation’s Seniors