4 Tips to Minimize Injuries from Falling as You Age

Experts offer advice on how to avoid falling and how to minimize injuries if you do fall.

An elderly man took a single misstep and tumbled off a subway platform in Philadelphia. It happened just last week. Fortunately, he was rescued by a brave young man.

Falling down is the curse of ageing. Consider this scary fact, the average person over 65 falls down at least once a year.  

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A scary 227 falls were recorded over three years inside an assisted living facility.

They surveyed that 24% of them fell just walking and 12% were simply trying to sit down.

David, a Vietnam veteran, needs a walker to get around. He said, “I've actually fallen and called for help and there was nobody and I couldn't move. It's a pretty scary situation.”

He's part of a group being taught the proper way to fall and to get up safely at the Patient Safety Center of Inquiry (PSI) which is part of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

Tommy McNeil teaches fall prevention. He says when we're young we instinctively reach out to stop a fall.  But as our bones weaken with age. It's better to drop and roll.  

“As you're falling you want to try to lower your center of gravity. You don't want to reach out to stop yourself with your hands or knees,” he said.

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Also, take your time getting up. You could be more hurt than you realize. Slowly move to your hands and knees and make sure you aren't dizzy. Then, crawl towards support like a chair that won't slip out from under you.

Dr. Pat Quigley of the hospital echoes that, saying, “Even a minor fall can have consequences to a person who's older!”