NFPA’s Remembering When™: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults focuses on eight key fire prevention messages and eight fall prevention messages. Most the messages refer to safety inside the home. With the many places experiencing record cold temperatures and ice and snow conditions, however, preventing falls outdoors is especially important right now.
Today, I spoke with Judy A. Stevens, Ph.D, senior epidemiologist and expert on older adult fall prevention for the Injury Center of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an advisor to the Remembering When program.
“Studies show that one out of three falls happen when people are outside, often while simply walking or when stepping onto a curb,” says Dr. Stevens.
Here are five key fall prevention strategies Dr. Stevens recommends for preventing falls outside:
1. Wear boots or shoes with deep treads.
2. Keep outdoor steps and walkways in good repair. Step over any broken sidewalks or cracks in sidewalks or streets.
3. Arrange to have snow and ice removed from sidewalks.
4. Have handrails installed on both sides of outdoor stairs and use those handrails.
5. Exercise regularly to increase your strength and balance with special exercises such as Tai Chi. For the free publication “Exercise: A guide for the National Institute on Aging,” which includes exercises that you can do in your home to prevent falls, call the National Institute of Health, NIH, (800) 222-2225 or go to the NIH website.
A 2005 study by Dr. F.E. McKiernan found that the Yaktrax® Walker, a lightweight traction device that fits over shoes, prevented older adults from falling when walking on ice and snow. More information about this study can be found in the “CDC Compendium of Effective Fall Interventions: What Works for Community-Dwelling Older Adults, 2nd Edition”.Other CDC publications about fall prevention also can be found at this location.
Download free Remembering When: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults Power Point presentations, posters, and much more.