Fall Prevention / Safety-proof Your Home For Older Adults (Video)

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A simple thing can change your life—like tripping on a rug or slipping on a wet floor. If you fall, you could break a bone, like thousands of older men and women do each year. For older people, a break can be the start of more serious problems, such as a trip to the hospital, injury, or even disability.

If you or an older person you know has fallen, you’re not alone. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. The risk of falling—and fall-related problems—rises with age.

Many Older Adults Fear Falling

The fear of falling becomes more common as people age, even among those who haven’t fallen. It may lead older people to avoid activities such as walking, shopping, or taking part in social activities.

But don’t let a fear of falling keep you from being active. Overcoming this fear can help you stay active, maintain your physical health, and prevent future falls. Doing things like getting together with friends, gardening, walking, or going to the local senior center helps you stay healthy. The good news is, there are simple ways to prevent most falls.

Have you fallen before?

Write down the details, including when, where and how you fell. Be prepared to discuss instances when you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time. Details such as these may help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.

Could your health conditions cause a fall?

Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, shortness of breath, or numbness in your feet and legs when you walk? Your doctor may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.

Safety-proof your home

  • Make sure all hallways, stairs, and paths are well lit and clear of objects such as books or shoes.
  • Use rails and banisters when going up and down the stairs. Never place scatter rugs at the bottom or top of stairs.
  • Tape all area rugs to the floor so they do not move when you walk on them.