Falls Prevention Tips

For the Home

  • Be sure to have good lighting both inside and outside.
  • Use night lights and flashlights.
  • Have handrails on both sides of staircases.
  • Keep walkways clear of clutter.
  • Be sure that all carpets are secure and if possible, do not use throw rugs.
  • Have grab bars in bathrooms.
  • Use non-slip mats on all wet surfaces.
  • Avoid having bed covers that are too long an can be tripped over.
  • Have all cords and wires secure.
  • Do not put things on shelves that you cannot reach.
  • Wipe up wet spills as soon as they occur.
  • Have a phone near your bed.
  • Keep a cell phone with you as you move about your home.
  • Do not try to carry too much at one time.
  • Let the phone ring…do not rush to answer.

Medications

  • Read warnings and side effects of all medications.
  • Do not share medications.
  • Do not start or stop taking medications without notifying your doctor.
  • Over the counter medications can have side effects as well.  Be sure to notify your doctor if you are taking over the counter medications as well as herbals and vitamins.
  • To avoid confusion, keep all medication stored in the container that it came in.
  • Alcohol can interact with medications.  It can make you dizzy and lead you to a fall.

Vision and Hearing

  • Poor vision can increase your chance of falling.
  • Get your eyes checked annually.
  • Be cautious if you wear bifocals.  They can distort vision while going down stairs.
  • Wear your glasses and be sure that they are the correct prescription.

Physical Activity: Exercise is the ONLY risk factor that by itself can dramatically reduce the risk of falls. Before starting any exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor.

  • Walk more
  • Keep your muscles strong.
  • Perform simple exercises.
  • Stretch
  • Choose something active that you enjoy!  Gardening, bowling, golf, walking…anything active that you are motivated to continue doing!

Additional resources for physical activity include:

EnhanceFitness

Matter of Balance

Walk with Ease

Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance

Stepping On

Go For Life:  Lists simple exercises with descriptions and photos.