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Reducing Falls Outside the Home

Reducing Falls Outside the Home

Six out of every ten falls occur at home, but that means that 40 percent of falls occur in areas where seniors have little control over the conditions, according to the National Institutes of Health. Falling outside can pose the same risks to your health and independence as falling at home.

Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your risk of falling when you are away from home. These actions can help you stay on your feet, regardless of whether you are outside enjoying a beautiful day or walking inside a building.

  • Take Your Time: When you’re in a hurry, you’re more likely to lose your footing. Leave your house 10 to 15 minutes early, or accept that you may be a little late. Arriving at an appointment precisely on time isn’t as important as getting there safely. Instead of rushing, slow down and move at a pace that is comfortable for you. 
  • Focus on Walking Instead of Other Distractions: Keeping your mind on what you are doing is a must when you are driving, and it should be just as important when you are walking. Something as simple as talking on the phone can put you at greater risk of falling. Instead, focus on walking. This will also keep your hands free, which can be important if you do fall. 
  • Be Aware of Hazards in Your Way: Walking outside can present many hazards, from curbs and uneven sidewalks to slick surfaces and inclines. You can better navigate these obstacles when you are paying attention to your surroundings. Keeping an eye out for these hazards and moving over or around them carefully can help to prevent many falls. 
  • Wear Shoes with Non-Skid Soles: Some shoes have slick soles, including dress shoes and house shoes. By choosing shoes with non-skid rubber soles, you are less likely to slide on slippery surfaces. These shoes also typically offer better stability than many others. It is also a good idea to wear shoes that can’t slide off easily. This means that lace-up fitness shoes are a better choice than slip-ons. 

While most falls occur at home, there is reason to be concerned with falling when you are away from home. Outside of your home, you have less control of what you might encounter. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of falling, no matter where you are.

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