|According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause|
of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults.
We all live in a quaint central Pennsylvania college town where winter brings a damp, icy covering to the world. Arthur was headed out to an evening college function as the sun slowly set in the cloudy late afternoon sky. He stepped out his front door, onto his porch stairs, reaching back with his key to turn the lock. The next thing he knew, he was waking up in pitch darkness, face down in the snow at the bottom of his stairs in a frozen pool of his own blood, with his nose broken and left leg immobile.
That fall could well have ended his life. The CDC reports that in 2011, about 22,900 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries. Arthur was relatively lucky. He broke his knee and worse, sustained a concussion, that had he not received immediate medical attention, could have led to brain damage, strokes, and even death.
Unfortunately, Arthur’s story is not an uncommon one. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall. Most fall injuries in the home happen at ground level, not from an elevation.
|Half of all accidental deaths in the home|
are caused by a fall.
Immediately after his fall, we installed no-slip surfaces on his porch and outdoor stairs. We chose Handi-Ramp’s Handi-Treads for their longevity, easy installation, and long-term cost effectiveness. Non-slip tapes like Skid-Guard Safety Tape or paints like INSL-X Sure Step are other options. We installed them at our houses as well, to protect our children and wives from similar falls.
There are some basic precautions that can be taken to make these potentially dangerous and heavily-trafficked areas of our homes significantly safer.
3 Simple Fall Prevention Steps
1. Always Look Where You’re Going - If we typically focus far ahead and are not mindful of the ground or the immediate surroundings, we could miss warning signs that are right in front of us. Be extra careful when conditions are wet or icy.
|Always look where you're going.|
3. Protect and Fortify your Home Environment - While we cannot always control the safety of all our surroundings or public areas, we can control the safety of our own home. Make sure that the outdoor stairways, walkways and any potential risk-areas are safe for everyone in your home, in every weather condition.
Non-Slip Tape like Skid-Guard Safety Tape: The tape is rolled out and sealed to surfaces, cost on average $9 per stair with materials and labor, and lasts about 6 months. The tape uses ‘grit’ to provide traction and stability, but easily wears out and loses traction after extended uses. A quick and cheap solution in the short run, but one that requires constant upkeep and is expensive over time.
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