The 3 Things You Need to Know to Prevent Falls Outside the House

As you may recall from our blog last week, the entire month of September is Falls Prevention Awareness Month.

The pinnacle of the month long campaign against falls takes place on the fall equinox, September 23, 2015. This day marks the 8th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day. To help support the National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) efforts in raising awareness for fall prevention, we have pledged to blog about different issues regarding fall prevention each week this month.

In the past we have blogged on many occasions regarding how to prevent falls by being aware of the physical issues that can affect the likelihood of experiencing a fall and also how to prevent falls in the home.

This week we are exploring how to prevent falls and fall-related injuries when you or your loved one is outside.

Knowing how to prevent a fall or fall-related injury can save your elderly loved one’s life.

According to statistics gathered by the Journal of Trauma, “Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries which greatly impact their independence and can lead to early death.”

In fact, in 2013 nearly 26,000 older adults died from unintentional fall-related injuries. Through awareness and preventative measures these numbers can be slashed.

Preventing falls outside is often a lot more difficult than preventing a fall in one’s own home. At home it is easier to make sure walkways are well-lit and cleared of clutter.

Following these tips from the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence will greatly minimize you or your loved one’s risk of experiencing a fall abroad.

Be a Picky Walker

If at all possible, try to only walk during times of the day where it will be easy to see where you’re going. Avoid going abroad in stormy weather, especially rain, snow or fog. The reduced visibility and traction increase the chance of a fall exponentially.

While we’re on the subject, you should also be picky of the route you take. Be sure to avoid sidewalks that have cracks, holes, are off-camber or any other irregularities.

Malls and other well maintained areas are great places to walk and get physical activity. Many malls have walking programs designed specifically for seniors to safely get exercise.

Strength in Numbers

Always make sure you travel in a group. When out and about, the more sets of eyes, the better. Walking companions can warn each other about potential hazards. In case of an emergency, having an activity companion can lessen the severity of the situation.

Preparation. Preparation. Preparation.

From planning the route to making sure one’s attire is properly suited for the situation reducing one’s risk of experiencing a fall abroad takes a lot of preparation. Make sure you or your loved one is wearing properly fitting shoes with good traction soles.

It may sound contradictory, but knowing how to fall safely can greatly reduce one’s risk of a fall-related injury. Read our blog about how to fall safely here.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog which will be discussing falls prevention around pets.