Preventing serious falls


Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries in older adults that can lead to hospitalization, nursing home admission, and even death among older people.

The chance of falling increases as we get older. Health problems such as arthritis, heart disease, muscle weakness, poor balance or vision, foot problems, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and even certain medications can increase your chance of falling. Dangerous things around the home – slippery throw rugs and poor lighting, for example – make falls more likely as well. If you are an older adult or you are in charge of care for an older person, please follow the steps below, and also get a “falls checkup” on a regular basis from your healthcare provider.

Did you know? One in every three adults age 65 and older falls each year.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have had a fall

If you fall, let your healthcare provider know right away. It is important for you to tell them what might have caused the fall – whether you tripped over something, for instance, or got dizzy and lost your balance, or felt your legs “go out” from under you. This important information will be used to help you avoid falling again.

Review your medications

Put all of your medications – prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins or any other pills that you take – in a bag and bring them with you to your next visit with your healthcare provider. Together you can review your medications to see if any might increase your chance of falling. If so, your provider may change the dose, or prescribe another type of medicine for you.

Make a falls prevention plan with your healthcare provider

During your visit, your healthcare provider may also check your balance, leg strength and function, your blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm; examine the way you walk; and test your vision.

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