Friday, December 12, 2014

Winterize to Prevent Falls

Below are five simple steps that YOU can take today to make a big impact on falls for older adults and adults with disabilities in your community:
  1. Raise awareness by posting and disseminating this simple and colorful infographic -- 6 Steps to Prevent a Fall -- from the National Council on Aging.
  2. Encourage older adults to carry a Ziploc bag filled with a lightweight kitty litter in their pocket and cast it out ahead of themselves on very slick surfaces. More information about using kitty litter for traction can be found here.
  3. ‘Tis the season for gift giving! Encourage adult children to give fall-proofing holiday gifts to their parents:
    1. Fall alarm systems that are motion triggered without hitting a button
    2. Sign a loved one up for a Fall Prevention Class
    3. Higher toilets in the home
    4. Replace multifocal glasses with single vision eyeglass lenses
    5. Grab bars in bathroom and next to outside steps or inside thresholds
    6. Install firm stair railings on both sides of stair ways and set automatic lights over stairways and by outside entrances
    7. Cover the entryway to the home and provide a table to set down bags while finding keys
    8. Give tiny flashlights to attach to keys, hats, and coat buttons. Shorter days mean more time in the dark.
  4. Begin to check ALL older adults with the STEADI fall risk screening tool as part of your normal intake and re-evaluation process. You can learn to administer the STEADI screen and you can learn how to use the Otago Fall Prevention Program and other evidence-based falls prevention programs as part of your community-based fall prevention programs.
Help make this season a safe, warm and wonderful one for your patients, your family and your community.

Source: Mindy Oxman Renfro, PT, PhD, DPT, GCS; Chair, American Physical Therapy Association’s AGPT Balance & Falls SIG; Lead, Montana's Falls Free Coalition; University of Montana Rural Institute/MonTECH programs.

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