Focus on Preventing Adult falls Focus on Preventing Adult falls
Centers for Disease Control and Preventions

We all want to protect our family members as they age and help them stay safe, secure, and independent. Knowing how to protect older adults from falls, a leading cause of injury, is a step toward this goal.

The Reality

Each year, one in every three adults age 65 or older will fall and two million will be treated in an emergency department for injuries caused by falls. Fall injuries, such as hip fracture and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), can be a serious threat to seniors’ health and independence.

Thankfully, falls are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, many falls can be prevented. We can all play a key role in protecting the older adults we care about.

Prevention Tips

You can play a role in preventing falls. Encourage the older adults you care about to:

Get some exercise: Lack of exercise can lead to weak legs, and this increases the chance of falling. Exercise programs like Tai Chi can increase strength and improve balance, making falls less likely for aging adults. Be mindful of medications: Some medicines—or combinations of medicines— can have side effects like dizziness or drowsiness. This can make falls more likely. Having a doctor or pharmacist review all medications can help reduce the chance of risky side effects and drug interactions. Keep their vision sharp: Poor vision can make it harder to get around safely. To help make sure they’re seeing clearly, older adults should have their eyes checked every year and wear glasses or contact lenses with the right prescription strength. Eliminate hazards at home. About half of all falls happen at home. A home safety check can help identify fall hazards that need to be removed or changed, like clutter and poor lighting. Steps for Home Safety

The following checklist can help older adults stay safer from falls in their homes:

Remove things you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes, and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk. Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping. Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool. Have grab bars put in next to your toilet and inside and next to the tub or shower. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors. Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang light-weight curtains or shades to reduce glare. Have handrails and lights put in on all staircases. Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.