Marysville Fire District offers tips for preventing falls this holiday season
December 10, 2010 · 11:20 AM
MARYSVILLE — Although older adults are especially vulnerable to falling, all age groups are at risk, particularly during the holidays. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season presents an increased chance of a fall as people climb ladders or stools to reach decorations, hang lights, ornaments and other decorations. To help reduce the potential risks of falling, the Marysville Fire District is offering some tips to help community members keep safe.
More than one in three adults 65 years or older falls each year - one in 10 results in a serious injury such as a hip fracture, of those 20 percent die within a year. In Washington state, 12,200 older adults were hospitalized due to a fall - 491 died as a result. Think of it this way - in that same year, only 2,000 older adults were hospitalized due to vehicle crashes. Falls are a leading cause of injury of older adults in the Marysville Fire District service area, according to Kristen Thorstenson, MFD Public Education Specialist/Public Information Officer.
Falls are not a natural part of the aging process – you can take steps to stay independent by preventing falls. Four things you can do to prevent falls are: have a regular exercise program, have your health care provider review your medications (as we age, medications react differently in our bodies and can cause dizziness), have your vision checked and make your home safer.
Holiday Falls Prevention Tips
• Recognize the possibility of falls.
• Use safe ladder practices.
• Use safer alternatives such as step stools instead of furniture when hanging decorations.
• Increase your awareness of seasonal fall hazards, like decorations on the floor.
• Make sure the ladder is on a secure and level footing before climbing.
• Space the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet it reaches up.
• Stay centered between the rails of the ladder. Do not overreach—move the ladder.
• Do not stand on the ladder's top two rungs.
• To reach a roof, extend the ladder at least three feet beyond the edge of the roof.
• Keep the area around the top and bottom of the ladder clear.
• Make sure step ladders are securely locked open. Never use a folding step ladder when it is closed.
For more information about falls prevention visit, www.sssc.org/fall_prevention_coalition.