By Dave Snow of Non-Slip Services

Slip and fall accidents account for over one million emergency room visits each year, but did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an older adult dies from a fall every 20 minutes?

While slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of hospitalizations for all age groups, they can be particularly dangerous for those over age 65. Thirty-three percent of people 65 or older experience a fall each year. Tragically, these slip and fall accidents resulted in 15,000 deaths in 2015 and have increased every year since.

One of the most common slip and fall injuries older adults suffer is a hip fracture. Recovering from a hip fracture is painful and difficult at any age but can result in more serious complications as we age. Even those who do recover can experience reduced mobility, an increased fear of falling again, and a loss of independence, which can lead to depression.

The good news is that there are many steps you can take to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of slip and fall accidents for you and your loved ones.

If you are over 65, the CDC recommends four things you can do to prevent falls:

Talk to your healthcare provider about fall risks and prevention
Tell your provider if you have fallen or worry about falling and have them review your medicines, even over-the-counter medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy and cause you to fall.

Exercise to improve your balance and strength
Exercises that improve balance and make your legs stronger lower your chances of falling. Conversely, lack of exercising leads to weakness and increases your chance of falling. Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.

Have your eyes and feet checked
Once a year, check with your eye doctor and be sure to update your prescription if needed. You may have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Also, have your healthcare provider check your feet once a year and discuss proper footwear.

Make your home safer
Making your home safer is something you can do right away. The National Safety Council recommends these tips: remove clutter, small furniture, pet gear, electrical cords, throw rugs and anything else that might cause someone to trip. Arrange furniture so there is plenty of room for walking. Add grab bars inside and outside of your bathtub or shower and next to the toilet. Put railings on both sides of the stairs and make sure stairs and hallways have good lighting. Make sure outdoor areas are well lit and walkways are smooth and free of puddles. Finally, older people should feel comfortable using a cane or walker if needed.

Taking these precautions today can protect you and your loved ones in the future.

Non-Slip Services specializes in helping businesses and individuals reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents due to wet and slippery surfaces. Their durable, long-lasting, anti-slip floor treatments and coatings increases the friction of wet surfaces, while not altering the surface’s appearance.