Fatal Falls: Primary Cause of Accidental Death for People Age 65 and Older | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  the main cause for accidental death among people age 65 and older is falling.  Fatal fall rates rose for both men and women between 1993 and 2003, with men’s rates increasing by 45% and women’s rates increasing by 60%.   The statistics are available in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Following are the CDC’s recommendations for preventing falls in older adults:

  • “Exercise regularly (get your doctor’s approval first).
  • Have your doctor or pharmacist review your medicines, including over-the-counter medicines.
  • Have your vision checked at least once yearly by an eye doctor.
  • Get up slowly from sitting or lying down.
  • Wear shoes inside and outside the house.
  • Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
  • Keep emergency numbers in large print near each phone.
  • Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and can’t get up.
  • Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can’t get up.”

Following are CDC’s recommendations for making homes safer for older adults to help prevent falls:Improve the lighting.

  • “Hang lightweight curtains or shades to reduce the glare.
  • Remove throw rugs or use them with a nonslip backing.
  • Keep objects like papers, books, and towels off the floor.
  • Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall so you can’t trip over them.
  • Fix loose or uneven steps.
  • Put overhead lights at the top and bottom of steps.
  • Make sure carpet on steps is firmly attached to every step.
  • Put nonslip rubber treads on uncarpeted stairs.
  • Fix loose handrails.
  • Paint a contrasting color on the top edge of all steps so you can see the stairs better.  For instance, use a light-colored paint on dark wood.”