Even the soles of your shoes could save your life.
Or the life of someone you love.
More than 1,000 people in Washington state over the age of 60 died in 2020 because of injuries from accidentally falling down. And nearly one in three adults in our state who were 65 years and older experienced a fall that year.
Falls can be avoided, which is why falls prevention is an important conversation to have with your family and friends. “Falls prevention” is how we describe our work to prevent older people from falling down and injuring themselves.
Our state Emergency Care System is here to take care of Washingtonians when we experience a trauma, such as an injury. But the best way to avoid needing that help is to take steps to prevent an injury from happening.
How to prevent falls
Here are 8 steps you can take to reduce the risk of falls in and out of your home. And for those who are younger, please share these with the older adults in your life.
- Do balance and strengthening exercises at least three times a week.
- Always wear shoes that fit your feet well and have solid, non-skid soles.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications for side effects that may cause falls.
- Get your vision checked by an eye doctor every year, and wear glasses if your doctor prescribes them
- Make sure you have enough lighting in your home so you can move around safely.
- Ask your doctor to do a fall risk screening and tell them if you have fallen recently.
- Make your home safer: put grab bars in the shower, add rails on both sides of your stairs and remove throw rugs.
- Ask an audiologist to check your hearing if you or your family notice you are having difficulties. Hearing is an important factor in keeping your balance.
Where to learn more
Our state’s Emergency Care System takes a wide-ranging approach to caring for traumatic injuries. These include services for injury prevention, emergency medical services, hospital care, and rehabilitation facilities. The system works to make sure resources are available, so that patients get connected to the right facility quickly.
To learn more about preventing falls among older adults, visit the Department of Health website, where you can find more information like this:
Questions about COVID-19? Visit our COVID-19 website to learn more about vaccines and booster doses, testing, WA Notify, and more. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.