Fall Prevention

Falls often take place due to slipping, tripping, or losing your balance. Millions of people fall every year and injure themselves. Among older adults in the U.S., falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Here are ways to reduce your risk of falling again:

  • Think about your fall. Was there anything that caused your fall that can be fixed, removed, or replaced?

  • Make your home safe by keeping walkways clear of objects you may trip over, such as electrical cords.

  • Use nonslip pads under rugs. Don't use area rugs or small throw rugs.

  • Use nonslip mats in bathtubs and showers.

  • Hang grab rails by the toilet and inside and outside the shower.

  • Install handrails and lights on staircases. The handrails should be on both sides of the stairs.

  • Use night lights.

  • Don't walk in poorly lit areas.

  • Don't stand on chairs or wobbly ladders.

  • Use care when reaching overhead or looking up. This position can cause a loss of balance.

  • Be sure your shoes fit well, are in good condition, and have nonslip bottoms. 

  • Wear shoes both inside and outside of your home. Don't go barefoot or wear slippers.

  • Be cautious when going up and down stairs, curbs, and when walking on uneven sidewalks.

  • If your balance is poor, consider using a cane or walker. Talk with your healthcare provider about having a balance assessment.

  • If your fall was related to alcohol use, stop or limit alcohol intake. Ask your provider for help if you think you may overuse alcohol and can't stop.

  • If your fall was related to use of sleeping medicines, talk with your provider about this. You may need to reduce your dosage at bedtime if you wake up during the night to go to the bathroom.  

  • To reduce the need for nighttime bathroom trips:

    • Don't drink fluids for several hours before going to bed

    • Empty your bladder before going to bed

    • Men can keep a urinal at the bedside

  • Stay as active as you can. Balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance all come from exercise. They all play a role in preventing falls. Ask your provider which types of activity are right for you. Try to do some type of exercise every day.

  • Get your eyes checked once a year or more often if your vision changes

  • If you have pets, know where they are before you stand up or walk so you don't trip over them.

  • Go over all your medicines with a pharmacist or other provider. This is to see if any of them could make you more likely to fall. Have this type of medicine review at least once every year.

  • If your provider advises a new medicine, ask if the side effects will affect your balance.

  • Don't move quickly from one position to another. For instance, don't stand up fast from sitting. This can cause dizziness and may lead to a fall.

  • Sit down when putting on pants, socks, and shoes. This will make you less likely to lose your balance and fall.

  • Always let your provider know if you have fallen since your last visit.

  • Contact your provider right away if you're having balance problems or falling more often.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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