Falls – Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies
Feb. 9, 2023
By Kaylee Yamry
Prevent fall related injuries with these helpful tips
Millions of people fall every year. Although anyone at any age can fall, it can be especially troublesome for adults aged 65 and over. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal and fatal injuries in this age group.
The good news is that risk factors can be detected, and falls can often be prevented. It may be time to assess your surroundings and make a few conscious changes to ensure safety for yourself or a loved one. Here are 11 easy tips you can take to reduce your risk of falling at home and while you’re out:
Wear the right shoes. Choose properly fitting shoes with good traction, especially when it is wet, snowy or icy outside.
Stand up carefully. When you get up from a chair or exit a car, place both feet firmly on the ground and take a moment to steady yourself before beginning to move.
Pay attention. Look at what’s in front of you so you can avoid obstacles that may cause you to trip and fall. Don’t let yourself become distracted and be aware of your surroundings to detect possible fall hazards.
Don’t rush. Give yourself enough time to get where you need to go. Being in a hurry increases your chance of falling. Slow down and take a moment to prioritize safety over speed and it may save you a great deal of time in the long run.
Watch where you walk. Avoid walking on ice or snow. Wet grass can also be very slippery. Also be on the lookout for cracks, uneven surfaces or obstacles in your path. Do your best to avoid these dangerous surfaces. If they are unavoidable, slow down and be cautious as you walk.
Move deliberately. Quick movements may cause you to lose your balance. Taking shorter steps helps keep your body more stable.
Light it up. Add more lighting, brighter bulbs, motion sensor lights or nightlights in your home or outside so you are able to easily see where you are going.
Remove tripping hazards. Scan your home and other surroundings for risk factors and hazards. Keep pathways clear of objects that may get in your way. Get rid of loose rugs or make sure they’re firmly secured to the floor. You can also get a home evaluation from a senior home safety specialist to ensure you are aware of all hazards in your home.
Make items easily accessible. You’re less likely to lose your balance if items are easy to get to and you don’t have to stretch, bend or climb to retrieve them. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you need help relocating items.
Install safety devices. Place non-slip mats in showers, tubs, under rugs and in front of sinks. Install handrails and grab bars where needed, such as along stairs and in bathrooms. Invest in home safety technologies such as a personal emergency response system so you are prepared in case a fall related emergency would occur.
Exercise. Engage in physical activities that improve your strength, flexibility, and balance such as Tai Chi, yoga or water workouts. Enroll in a wellness center that offers classes and equipment to fit your needs.
Prevent falls before they happen. For more information about preventing falls at home, contact our home health care team at (320)335-8753 or take our free online assessment to learn if home health care may be right for you.
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Date Last Reviewed: August 21, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD