Stay Active to Prevent Falls This Winter
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans aged 65 and older, and the risk for a life-changing fall goes up in snowy and icy conditions. However, even winter falls can be prevented.
- Maintain regular physical activity to ensure you have the strength and balance you need to prevent falls. Ask your doctor or physical therapist about easy indoor exercises and seek opportunities to be active.
- Invest in extra lamps, nightlights and exterior lights so that you can always see where you are walking, especially around doorways and stairs. Use the highest-wattage bulbs recommended for your fixtures.
- Coats, gloves, hats and other winter clothing are designed to keep you warm, but items that are bulky, don't fit well or can catch on nearby objects can increase your risk of falling.
- Wear boots and shoes that fit properly and have soles with good traction. Keep shoes and walking aids (canes, walkers) in good working condition, dry and free of snow, ice, dirt and mud.
- Keep sidewalks and stairs outside your home clean of ice and snow. Make sure steps leading into your home have sturdy handrails that can support you if you slip.
- Keep space heaters, cords and blankets out of walkways. If you must use throw rugs on cold floors, secure them to the floor with tape.
- Carry a cell phone and designate someone to call for help if you need it. Let loved ones know when you are leaving the house and when you expect to be back; call them after you return home.
More winter falls prevention tips...
Forecast for colder, snowier season means older Ohioans should be "Winter READY!"
Weather and Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults
Winter Weather Safety for Older Adults
10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls
For the second year in a row, the STEADY U Initiative called on all Ohioans to help take "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls." Getting 15-30 minutes of physical activity every day is one of the most basic things you or a loved one can do to reduce your risk of falling. Walking strengthens muscles, improves balance and increases stamina, all of which can make you steadier on your feet.
Throughout the month of September, 59 partner organizations organized 55 community events to raise awareness of older adult falls prevention and, most importantly, provide opportunities for Ohioans of all ages to get moving. More than 3,500 Ohioans walked approximately 6,800 miles - that's 17 million steps!
Thank you to all the organizations and individuals who helped make this event an undeniable success!
News Release: 59 organizations, 3,500+ Ohioans help exceed "10 Million Steps to Prevent Falls"
Take a falls risk self-assessment.
Did you know...?
- Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalization and death among Ohioans aged 65 and older
- An older Ohioan falls every minute on average, resulting in an injury every five minutes, an emergency department visit every six minutes, two hospitalization each hour and three deaths each day.
- Approximately 16 percent of Ohio citizens are age 65 or older, yet this group accounts for more than 85 percent of fatal falls.
- The total estimated cost of falls (medical costs, work loss) is $1.9 billion annually in Ohio, or $5.2 million each day.
- About three out of five falls among older Ohioans occur in the home; one in four falls occur in a nursing home or other residential facility.
- Falls are not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented!
It Takes Everyone
Most falls in older adults can be prevented. A person's risk for falls goes down the minute he or she stops being afraid of falling. Preventing falls for every older Ohioan will take a community approach.
Everyone - from the individual and his family, to doctors and nurses, to business owners and managers, to community leaders and more - has a role to play in preventing falls. It's like the old saying goes, "united we stand, divided we fall." What's your role in preventing falls in Ohio?
If you wish to become involved in the STEADY U initiative, contact us or subscribe to be notified of opportunities. Opportunities include community falls prevention coalitions, serving as a lay leader in the A Matter of Balance Program, and more.
Falls Prevention in the News
About STEADY U Ohio
STEADY U Ohio is a statewide collaborative falls prevention initiative, supported by Ohio government and state business partners to ensure that every county, every community and every Ohioan knows how they can prevent falls, one step at a time. This website is the source in Ohio for falls prevention information, tools and other resources.