The risk of falls increases with age and can be serious problem affecting older individuals. This may be due to a range of factors including medical conditions, medication, balance difficulties, visual-cognitive impairment, and environmental factors. Falls can cause serious injury, and loss of independence
Following are some tips to help reduce the risk of falls:
- Make sure that all pathways inside and outside of the house are clear of clutter and other obstacles, such as snow in the winter
- Install handrails in stairways and ensure they are securely anchored
- Secure or remove all area rugs
- Ensure that cords are neatly kept or tucked behind furniture and not strewn across the floor
- Clearly mark all rooms with signs, to avoid wandering and confusion
- Keep everyday items, such as food or personal care products, within reach
- Utilize nightlights throughout the house
- Minimize glare from windows and mirrors
- Some medications can cause dizziness that can lead to falls. Ask the individual’s doctor or a pharmacist about prescription and non-prescription medication side effects.
- Ensure the individual wears eyeglasses and hearing devices, if needed, as sensory issues can contribute to falls
- Consult with a physical therapist about assistive devices (e.g., walker)
- Evaluate the feet for pain and ensure the individual wears comfortable, well-fit shoes with non-skid soles
Consult with a physician about appropriate diet and exercise. A healthy diet can help build bone strength. Strengthening exercises, such as chair rises and tai chi, may help strengthen leg muscles and improve balance.
Have questions or need more information? Contact AFA’s Helpline at 866-232-8484 or click the chat icon in the lower right hand corner of this page.