How To Prevent Falls: New York Times (Jane E. Brody)
It’s that time of year again when safety-conscious organizations issue cautionary tales about preventing falls and, failing that, protecting against serious injury when suddenly descending unintentionally from the vertical.
Even if you think you already know everything you need to know about falling, you’d be wise to read on. Many of us can use a periodic kick in the pants to help keep us safe. I know, because I’m one of those prone to doing something foolhardy even while thinking how dumb it is.
Case in point: Having just read a ream of background information about the risks of falling and its exorbitant costs, both personal and financial, I did something utterly stupid. I stood on the edge of the bathtub in my slippers to clean the top of the surrounding tiles. I got away unscathed this time, but I’ve promised myself never to try that again. As a much younger friend reminded me, a little household dirt never killed anyone, but landing hard on bathroom fixtures is a common cause of fall-related injuries and even deaths among people of all ages, and especially those in and beyond their seventh decade.
In much of the country, fall injuries rise during the winter months when walkways become slippery and trip hazards are obscured by snow, ice or, in some areas, by leaves. Senior citizens, being less agile and more fragile, are especially at risk. A map of fatal falls in the United States, published last April in the AARP Bulletin, provides graphic testimony: Wisconsin and Minnesota, two of our coldest states, led the nation in deaths from falls among residents 65 and older.