HOUSTON (September 23, 2015)

It’s a common misconception that incidents like gunshot wounds or motor vehicle collisions bring more patients to a trauma center. In the Houston area, according to data from the Texas EMS/Trauma Registry, falls are actually responsible for bringing more people to the hospital than car wrecks and assaults combined. The good news is most accidental falls can be avoided when the community is equipped with the proper safety tips.

“For older Americans, falls represent a serious health problem,” said Sarah Schwaller, adult trauma prevention and outreach education coordinator at Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “A lot of these accidents are preventable and should not be seen as a consequence of aging. We at Memorial Hermann want to make sure that you and your loved ones are safer every day.”

In honor of the 8th Annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day, which is nationally recognized every September 23, Red Duke Trauma Institute is taking a stand to prevent falls by offering these important reminders.

  • Exercise: Routine exercise can help adults build balance, strength and flexibility, all of which can be key factors when it comes to avoiding a fall.
  • Doctor: Speak to your health care provider about your risk of a fall. This includes discussing side effects of prescribed medications that may increase your risk of a fall.
  • Vision and Hearing: Make sure you have your vision and hearing checked on an annual basis. Your eyes and ears may very well be the things that help keep you on your feet.
  • Home: Your home should be the safest place for you to avoid a fall. Remove any possible tripping hazards, make sure lighting is efficient and install grab bars in any risk areas. Hazards may include loose rugs and cords, unstable furniture or poorly lit rooms.
  • Sitting: Always get up slowly if you have been sitting or lying down for an extended period of time.
  • Shoes: Wear sturdy shoes both inside and outside of the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing backless slippers.

Sadly, one in three Americans age 65 and older falls each year, which can diminish their quality of life. Red Duke Trauma Institute's injury prevention team is providing this information on falls prevention with the hope of helping to lower that statistic.