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Fall Prevention

Older Adult Falls

Falls are a threat to the health of older adults and can reduce their ability to remain independent. However, falls don’t have to be inevitable as you age. You can reduce your chance of falling or help a loved one prevent falls. There are proven ways to reduce and prevent falls, even for older adults. We identify older adults as anyone 65 years and older. Falls and the injury and death they cause are increasing.

Learn how you can prevent a fall.

6 Steps to Prevent a Fall

  1. Find a good balance and exercise program. Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility.

  2. Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls.

  3. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure side effects are not increasing your risk of falling.

  4. Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.

  5. Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.

  6. Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to say safe. Falls are not just a senior issue.

Prevention Tips for Your Home…

Falls don’t “just happen”. The first step to preventing a fall is to make simple changes in your lifestyle. You can “fall proof” your home inside and out by…

  • Removing any loose area rugs, cords, furniture or other object which could pose tripping hazards. If you use rugs, secure them to the floor with double-sided tape or replace with slip resistant rugs.

  • Improving the lighting throughout your home. Nightlights are a great tool to use in every room, especially those frequented at night.

  • Placing items you use frequently within easy reach.

  • Using slip resistant bathmats. If needed, use a shower chair and install grab bars in shower and next to toilet.

  • Installing handrails at the stairs and walkways and using them.

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More fall prevention resources available under the Resources tab.

Prevention Tips for Your Health…

Now that you know how to “fall proof” your home, consider these suggestions to “fall proof” your lifestyle…

  • Enroll in a local fall prevention program.

  • Increase your physical activity. Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing low impact exercises.

  • Eat a well-balanced diet, rich in calcium.

  • Quit smoking and limit your alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your balance and reflexes.

  • Get regular check-ups and have your doctor evaluate your medications for side effects.

  • Have your vision checked yearly, especially if you experience poor depth perception, blurry vision and/or double vision.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. Choosing sensible footwear can help alleviate imbalance and foot pain.

After a Fall

These recommendations are from the National Institutes of Health and should not replace instructions from your doctor. If you have any concerns about getting up after a fall, remain where you are and call 911.

  1. Take several deep breaths.

  2. Remain still on the floor for a few minutes.

  3. Before trying to get up, determine if you are hurt. Trying to get up quickly or in the wrong manner could make an injury worse.

  4. Roll onto your side. Slowly get up on your hands and knees, and crawl to a sturdy chair.

  5. Put your hands on the chair, slide on foot forward, and then slowly rise to a kneeling position. Turn your body to sit in the chair.

  6. If you think you are hurt, don’t try getting up. Ask for help or call 911.

  7. Log your fall details (where, when, how) and talk about it with your doctor.

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