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February 6, 2008
By Claudia Collins
Because one in three Americans over the age of 65 will fall every year, it is important to take preventative measures to reduce your risk of falling, and reduce your possibility of experiencing injury, long term care or even death from a fall. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) offers two publications entitled Reducing Personal Risks of Accidental Falls and Preventing Falls in Your Home, with tips and guidance on how to avoid falls. These research-based articles are located on the UNCE website.
Not only do environmental risk factors, such as poor lighting or loose area rugs, play a part in falls, but there are some individual risk factors as well. For example, women are more likely to fall than men and people over the age of 55 are more likely to fall than younger adults.
One of the first steps in preventing falls is checking your home for hazards that may cause you to fall. The articles offer several tips for making your home a safer place, such as providing adequate lighting, clearing loose objects and clutter from the floor, and removing or securing loose area rugs. Outside your home, you should watch for uneven surfaces, unexpected spills, loose objects and slippery floors. Being unfamiliar with your surroundings also creates a risk factor.
The publication shows how you can also reduce some of your personal risk factors. Choose footwear with closed heels and toes to avoid catching on something that could cause a fall, get regular eye exams and know what medications you are taking to avoid negative interactions or side effects.
Another way to avoid falls is regular physical activity. Exercise helps to strengthen muscle, which protects joints and provides the strength and balance needed to get around safely. The article offers tips on how to start exercising in a safe way to start reducing your personal risk of falling.
Within the articles are more tips on preventing falls and more in-depth suggestions to make your home a safer place. By following these guidelines, you may reduce your likelihood of falling, thus avoiding injury or even death caused by falling. Simple measures go a long way, such as being aware of your surroundings and not being in a hurry.
For more information read the articles on the UNCE website. UNCE offers several research-based, free online publications on their website on a wide range of topics, including health and nutrition, agriculture and community development.