I love this photo of my mom and me but I do not like where it was taken.
You see, at almost 94 years young, she fell in her condo early summer breaking her hip and wrist requiring surgery plus dealing with an arm cast until mid-July. She now is in an assisted living facility. Sadly, this FALL has changed her life.
Yes, FALLS happen to all ages and do not discriminate on age.
Sandy, 55 years young, in large expensive home in Houston, fell in her master bath shower. There were no grab bars to literally grab on to, which resulted in a hurt knee. Okay, fast forward to going for physical therapy for 2 months with no relief. She gained 20 pounds unable to walk her normal exercise routine, was depressed changing not only lifestyle, but also her self image. Result of her FALL, was knee replacement surgery. How very sad that this was a preventable accident in 2 ways. One is no grab bar to stop her fall and two, was the shower curb she tripped over in her very expensive bathroom.
Carla Aston writes about 10 of the best looking bathroom grab bars for your bathroom remodel. Click here to learn more.
Here’s a fabulous example of a curbless or zero clearance shower opening by interior designer Katharine Pooley. I would however, add grab bars. Click here to see the entire home.
FALLS CHANGE LIVES AND ARE ALSO VERY EXPENSIVE!
Some FALLS are due to our own lack of common sense prevention. It is believed that most accidents are not accidents at all but are due to not paying attention to what we are doing or, in many cases, due to bad design.
A forty-five-year-old man, a designer in Kansas City, was carrying laundry from upstairs to downstairs on thick-carpeted steps wearing socks and no shoes. The lighting was also very poor. Result: he FELL resulting in a head injury. He is dealing with issues years later that resulted from this FALL.
In this stair “accident,” again, this was totally preventable for so many reasons. First of all, thick carpeting on stairs is a design no-no! The thinnest pad and low pile carpeting is always best on a stair way, always! Secondly, there was no lighting at the bottom of the stairs so he could not see the bottom steps. Thirdly, duh, do not carry anything on stairways that blocks your vision or affects your balance.
MOST FALLS COULD BE PREVENTED!
I love this awesome example of not only stairway lighting but low pile carpeting from KUBE architecture, photo by Greg Powers Photography.
(Photo from Zappos.com)
Ask all of those young folks wearing casts or middle aged folks riding a scooter due to an an accident, not surgery. I wear flip flops but with a MINDSET of what and where I am going or doing when I wear them. Really, flip flops riding a bicycle? Really? I see it all the time and this is what I mean by common sense. However, I also hear the phrase, “you can’t fix stupid.”
For at home slipper safety and comfort, try these Mahabis slippers instead!
Click here to read “Walk Away from Falling Caused by Improper Footwear” from Dr. Abraham with Phoenix Foot & Ankle Associates.
Click here to read “Preventing Injuries from Slips, Trips and Falls” from the National Ag Safety Database.
I could of course give zillions of examples. However, my main point is that FALLS do not just happen to the elderly or those over 60. And we have not even touched on skiing, hiking, or biking FALLING accidents.
Now, let’s do discuss FALLS for those over 65. Here are the stats from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and of course they are scary but so necessary for all of us to know and do our part on preventing FALLS, especially for this demographic.
- Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a broken hip or head injury.
- Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. The most common are fractures of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand/wrist
- Each year, there are over 258,000 hip fractures and the rate for women is almost twice the rate for men.
- Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls.
- One out of five hip fracture patients die within a year of their injury.
- Fall injuries are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions.
- The average hospital cost for a fall injury is $35,000.
- The costs of treating fall injuries goes up with age.
- Medicare pays for about 78% of the costs of falls.
- In 2013, direct medical costs for falls – only what patients and insurance companies pay – totaled $34 billion and is expected to rise to $68 billion by 2018. Source: Center for Disease Control
- Remember, most falls are a result of improper design and products. It is YOUR responsibility to improve accessibility, comfort and safety in every home for everyone, regardless of their age or needs. For those professionals in the industry, Register today to become a Certified Living In Place Professional and start making a difference TODAY! Click here to find a CLIPP class near you.
But please remember,
FALLS DO NOT AGE DISCRIMINATE AND FALLS CHANGE LIVES!
This is the perfect timing with September being FALL Awareness month to realize how, in a moments time, our life could change and not for the better. Please read this post and share, share, share. You could save you or your loved ones a great deal of pain, time and money.
My goal of writing this post for you all is that you will seriously consider what changes you can make in your every day world no matter what your age is currently.
DO NOT THINK THAT THIS IS ONLY FOR THE ELDERLY!
Every day living has potential hazards like using an incorrect stool or chair to reach something high or going out for the paper not realizing the sidewalk or driveway is slippery from ice or water. These are the “gotchas” that change lives on a dime NO MATTER THE AGE!
Again and again and again, no matter our age, let’s not fit into that category of not using common sense. Yes, we Boomers are #BoomerSmart, but we need all ages to be smart about preventing preventable accidents. This can be done and can save lots of agony, pain, heartache, money and time.
Ending with these points on preventable accidents, I am starting in my Next Life Series, Our Bathrooms. Stay tuned and stay safe!
Living and loving life together,
P.S. Be BoomerSmart®. Join the movement and click here to sign up to receive my emails with tips and trends for living a vibrant and chic life after 50. Also, don’t forget to click to follow our new “boomersmarts” Instagram page — a resource for boomers who want to live fabulous lives in homes they love.