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Why do falls matter?  

  • Falls are the leading cause of injuries among older adults, sending more than two million to the emergency department each year.
  • Every year, 1 out of 4 people older than 65 years old experience a fall.
  • If you fall once, you are twice as likely to fall again.
  • 1 out of 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.
  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.

What can happen after a fall?

Many people who fall become afraid of falling — even if they didn’t get hurt. This may make people less likely to do their normal everyday activities. When people are less active, they can become weaker, which may lead to a greater risk of falling.

What increases my chances of a fall?

Talk to your doctor if you have any of the following challenges:

  • Lower body weakness
  • Vitamin D deficiency (i.e. not enough Vitamin D in your body)
  • Trouble walking or keeping your balance
  • Medications, such as sedatives and antidepressants
  • Trouble seeing or other vision problems
  • Foot pain and poor footwear
  • Broken or uneven steps in the home
  • Throw rugs and clutter in the home that can be tripped over

What are some ways to prevent falls?

  • Take your vitamins! (Vitamin D and calcium).
  • Try strength and balancing exercises.
  • Talk to your provider about the use of medicines, such as sedatives or antidepressants.
  • Implement home improvements.

Many of the fall hazards are right in our own homes and a few inexpensive changes could lower your fall-risk.

  • Install Handrails along indoor and outdoor staircases, hallways and anywhere you feel you need a little extra support.
  • Use nonslip mats and treads to help improve traction on bathroom floors, shower, bathtub, outside decks and outside steps.
  • Improve lighting. Make sure you have adequate lighting in hallways, stairways, outdoor walkways and areas in which you're likely to walk in the middle of the night.
  • Install grab bars near showers, bathtubs and toilets. Avoid grab bars that "stick on" to shower tiles with suction, which are less reliable than metal grab bars attached to wall studs.
  • Implement inexpensive fixes. Remove all floor clutter. Rearrange furniture so that it works well with the flow of traffic. Use double-sided tape to secure the edges of area rugs to the floor and remove small throw rugs.
  • Repair steps and flooring. Repair crumbling outdoor steps, loose wallto-wall carpeting and uneven floorboards. Call a handyman to repair stairs or floorboards, or a carpet store to come and tighten wall-to-wall carpeting.

Check your risk for falling.

Circle “Yes” or "No"


Why It Matters

Yes (2) No (0)

I have fallen in the past year. 

People who haven fallen once are likely to fall again.

Yes (2) No (0)

I use or have been advised to use a cane or walker to get around safely. 

People who have been advised to use a cane or walker ready be more likely to fall.

Yes (2) No (0)

Sometimes I feel unsteady when I am walking. 

Unsteadiness or needing support while walking are signs of poor balance.

Yes (2) No (0)

I steady myself by holding onto furniture when walking at home.

This is also a sign of poor balance.

Yes (2) No (0)

I am worried about falling.

People who are worried about falling are more likely to fall.

Yes (2) No (0)

I need to push with my hands to stand up from a chair.

This is a sign of weak leg muscles, a major reason for falling.

Yes (2) No (0)

This is a sign of weak leg muscles, a major reason for falling.

This is also a sign of weak leg muscles.

Yes (2) No (0)

I often have to rush to the toilet. 

Rushing to the bathroom, especially at night, increases your chance of falling.

Yes (2) No (0)

I have lost some feeling in my feet. 

Numbness in your feet can cause stumbles and lead to falls.

Yes (2) No (0)

I take medicine that sometimes makes me feel light-headed or more tired than usual.

Side effects from medicines can sometimes increase your chance of falling.

Yes (2) No (0)

I take medicine to help me sleep or improve my mood.

These medicines can sometimes increase your chance of falling.

Yes (2) No (0)

l often feel sad or depressed. 

Symptoms of depression, such as not feeling well or feeling slowed down, are linked to falls.