Older adults have special patient safety concerns. For example, for people over the age of 65, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. In addition, more than 11 million elderly people in the United States fall each year - one in three senior citizens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 40 percent of all nursing home admissions are due to falls.
Preventing Falls for Older Adults
Here are some ideas on how to prevent falls for older adults:
- Throw out slippery throw rugs, or place nonskid material on the back.
- Keep electrical cords, telephone cords, newspapers and other clutter out of walkways.
- In the bathroom, install grab bars or handrails in the bathtub and by the toilet. Use a nonskid shower mat.
- Make sure the home is well-lit.
- Put a strip of brightly colored tape on the top and bottom step of stairways.
- Arrange items in cabinets to make them easier to reach.
For more information, see the In-Home Safety Check
and the Check it Out pages for more on fall prevention
Other Tips for Older Adults
In addition to our fall prevention tips, here are more general patient safety tips for older adults:
- Set aside time to empty out cabinets of old medications and check that medications are up to date.
- If you are not satisfied with your doctor, discuss this with him or her or consider finding a provider with whom you can communicate effectively.
- If you have avoided going for health care because of fear of the unknown, make an appointment before your health becomes an emergency.
- Bring a friend or family member to the doctor to help ask questions and help you listen.
- Learn about your own health issues become an informed consumer.
- Don't forget to check out all of our patient safety tips and request your Wallet Card so you'll have a list of current medications in case of emergency.
Protect your health:
- Your medications
- Hospital Stays
- Home Health
- Other Steps You Can Take