Ohioans urged to check for home hazards to avoid a fall as you “fall back”

As Ohioans prepare to “fall back” this weekend with the end of Daylight Saving Time, the Ohio Department of Aging’s STEADY U Ohio initiative urges older adults and their families to take steps to ensure a falls-free winter by checking their homes for common hazards that can lead to slips, trips and tumbles.

“Most falls happen in the home, so as days get shorter and cooler, it’s crucial to make sure our homes are as safe as they can be,” said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the Department of Aging. “Just like checking your smoke alarms, coupling the time change with a scan of your home for falling hazards can prevent a life-changing tragedy for you or your older loved ones.”

One in three older adults will fall this year. An older Ohioan falls every minute on average, resulting in an injury every five minutes, an emergency department visit every six minutes, two hospitalizations each hour and three deaths each day. While our risk increases with age, falling is not a normal part of aging and most falls can be prevented. When you reset your clocks check your home for these falls hazards:

  • Is furniture arranged to create straight and clear paths between rooms?
  • Is there enough lighting near doorways and stairs and in the bedroom and bathroom?
  • Are walkways free of clutter, cords, papers and other slipping tripping hazards?
  • Are rugs secured to the floor so they don’t move or slip or flip up when walked on?
  • Are commonly used items in the kitchen stored in easy-to-reach locations?
  • Are the floors and floor coverings (tile, carpet) in good repair and free of raised edges?
  • Do you have slip resistant rugs and mats in the bathroom?
  • Are indoor and outdoor steps and handrails sturdy and in good repair?
  • Are sidewalks clear of mud and storm debris?

Checking your home for common hazards can ensure safety, but also lends an opportunity to think and talk about other things you and your loved ones can do to avoid falls. Visit the STEADY U Ohio website (steadyu.ohio.gov) for more ways to create a falls-free home, including quick fixes and good investments, as well as tips for some of the biggest problem areas, such as stairs, bathrooms and pets in the home. While you’re there, take our online falls risk self-assessment to identify further changes to your health and habits that will also lower your risk for falling.

About STEADY U Ohio – Falls are an epidemic among our elders and are the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospital stays and deaths in Ohioans age 65-plus. STEADY U Ohio is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative led by Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Aging, and supported by Ohio government and state business partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities, identify opportunities for new initiatives and coordinate a statewide educational campaign to bring falls prevention to the forefront of planning for individuals, families, health care providers, business and community leaders and all Ohioans. Visit www.steadyu.ohio.gov.

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