Approximately one-third of Americans age 65 or older fall each year. Falls are one of the main causes of injury and loss of independence for individuals in this age group. Many falls are preventable. Here are some tips to help prevent falls:
- Find a good balance and exercise program. Participate in a program that will help you build balance, strength and flexibility.
- Talk to your health care provider. Ask your doctor, nurse or health care team for an assessment of your risk of falling. Speak with your team about any recent falls.
- Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure your medications’ side effects are not increasing your risk of falling. Take medicine only as prescribed.
- Get vision and hearing checks every year. Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet. Make sure you update your eyeglasses and use hearing aid(s) if needed.
- Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe, such as safeguarding your home.
- Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe and install grab bars in key areas, such as the bathroom.
Home safety tips
- Remove or fix objects you could trip over, such as raised doorway thresholds, throw rugs or loose carpet.
- Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter.
- Use nonskid floor wax and clean up spills immediately.
- Keep your house well lit. Use nightlights (or keep an overhead light on at night) in hallways and bathrooms.
- Put sturdy handrails on stairways. Make sure you have a light at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Store items on lower shelves so you do not need to climb or reach high.
- Keep a phone and a flashlight by your bed. Check the flashlight batteries often.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Council on Aging.