Preventing slip-and-fall injuries in the home

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Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults, according to the National Council on Aging.  Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including more than 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths. The University of North Carolina at Asheville recently received a three-year grant to conduct an evidence-based Falls Prevention Program, which will in part conduct programs to educate North Carolina older adults on how to avoid falls.


According to Harvard Medical School, appropriate exercise is very effective at reducing the risk of falls in older adults. Practicing Tai Chi, the gentle Chinese mind-body practice, improves balance and muscle tone, and can be done even by people in wheelchairs. In a trial by, inactive older adults who did Tai Chi three times a week decreased the risk of falls by 55 percent compared to a control group.


The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends that older adults give their homes fall-prevention assessments, and provides a list of risk factors and how to reduce them: “What can you do to make your home or the home of someone you love safer?” The NSC list:

  • Remove clutter, small furniture, pet gear, electrical cords, throw rugs and anything else that might cause someone to trip
  • Arrange or remove furniture so there is plenty of room for walking
  • Secure carpets to the floor
  • Wipe up spills immediately
  • Make sure outdoor areas are well lit and walkways are smooth and free from ice
  • Use non-slip adhesive strips on stairs
  • Use non-skid mats or appliqués in the bath and shower
  • Install grab bars in the tub, shower and near the toilet
  • Install railings on both sides of stairs
  • Provide adequate lighting in every room and stairway
  • Place nightlights in kitchen, bath and hallways
  • Make often-used items more accessible, like food, clothing, etc., so an older person won’t be tempted to use a stool or ladder to get to them
  • If necessary, provide personal walking devices, such as a cane or walker, to aid in stability


Richard Manger, principal of Manger Law Firm, has extensive experience in wills and estates, litigation and settlements, with a focus on workers’ compensation and personal injury law. We are proud of the strong relationships of loyalty and trust we develop with our clients. We go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. You can c

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