Falls are a major threat to the health and independence of older adults and the #1 cause of death due to injury for people age 65 and older. Slips, trips and falls can cause major injuries, such as breaking the hip or other bones, head injuries and even death. Injuries can lead to other health problems. If long term bed rest is needed, a person may get pressure ulcers, joint problems, and/or pneumonia.
Keeping in good physical condition with moderate daily exercise will reduce your risk of falls. A combination of flexibility, weight bearing exercises and aerobic exercise can markedly improve your level of fitness at any age.
- Improve muscle tone, strength, and endurance.
- Increase balance, agility, and confidence.
- Strengthen bones to fight osteoporosis and resist injury.
- Increase stamina and energy.
Always talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
Each year, thousands of older people fall at home. Falls are often due to hazards that are easy to fix.
- Use a night light to illuminate the path from your bed to the bathroom.
- Replace dim, burned out or glaring lights with bright soft white light bulbs.
- Place a lamp close to your bed where it is easy to reach.
- Long hallways should have light switches at each end.
- Keep walkways free of cords, clutter, and obstacles.
- Remove throw rugs, secure double-sided tap under area rugs.
- Arrange furniture so that you have plenty of room to walk.
- Use only no-wax cleaners on floors.
Steps and Stairways
- All steps and stairs should have secure handrails on both sides.
- Fix loose uneven outdoor steps.
- Carpet on indoor stairs should be firmly attached to every step.
- Attach non-slip rubber treads to wooden stairs.
- Stairs should be well lit with light switches at the top and bottom landings.
- Always keep objects off the stairs.
Living Room & Bedroom
- Furniture should be easy for you to get in and out.
- Keep a phone on a low table within reach of the floor.
- Keep a flashlight or battery-operated light near your bed.
- Install night lights throughout your home.
- Keep items you use often on the lower shelves. (about waist high)
- If you must use a step stool, get a sturdy one-step stool with side railings. Never use a chair as a step stool. Better yet, ask someone to assist you.
- Install wall grab bars by the toilet and inside the shower / tub area.
- Use a shower chair and handheld shower head.
- Place non-skid adhesive strips in the tub or non-skid mats.
- Install ADA height toilet (17” – 19” from floor to seat)
- Your shoes should be lightweight and supportive.
- Flat bottoms and non-skid.
- Firmly fastened; Velcro, cotton laces, or try nylon laces.
- Do not walk around in socks or smooth-soled slippers.
- Keep an updated list of medications, including supplements, herbs and over-the-counter products.
- Bring your medication list with you visit the doctor or hospital.
- Have all your medications filled at one pharmacy.
- As your pharmacist or your doctor about drug interactions.
- Take your medications regularly, do not skip or decrease the dose to cut cost.
- Avoid over the counter sleeping aids, allergy medications and antihistamines in cough and cold products.
- If you see a specialist, make sure your specialist sends reports to your primary care doctor.
- Always ask your doctor before you start an herbal supplement or over-the-counter remedy.
- Ask your pharmacist if your pills look different in any way (color, size, shape) than the previous prescription.
- Never use someone else’s medications.
- Discard old unused medications.
- Limit your use of alcohol.
- If you do experience dizziness, drowsiness, vision problems or loss of balance seek help.
- Report adverse drug reactions to your doctor.
- Have your vision checked annually and update prescriptions as needed.
Other Helpful tips
- Make helpful home modifications, such as ramps.
- Use assistive devices, such as a cane or walker.
- Remember that standing up slowly can help prevent loss of balance and fainting.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- If you have a medical alert tag or bracelet, always wear it.
- Consider emergency response services that can help you if you do fall.
For more information on fall prevention, please visit: