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Prevent Falls at Your Home

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Any adult can have a fall, but did you know the risk of falling goes up with age? In fact, falling is a common problem for older Americans. Every year, one third of adults 65 years and older falls.

Falls are the main cause of injuries in older adults. Injuries range from cuts and bruises to broken bones and head injuries. Injuries can cause older adults to need emergency care, be hospitalized, lose independence, and, sometimes, even die.     

The bottom line: it’s important to take steps to prevent a fall.

 What can you do to prevent falls?

  • Stay active by doing things to help with strength and balance.  Being active and fit lowers your risk of falling.
  • Keep your vision at its best by getting your eyes checked every year and, if needed, wearing eyeglasses or contacts.
  • If you take medications that make you dizzy or sleepy, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
  • Wear shoes (not slippers) both outside and inside the house.
  • Check your home for things that might cause you to fall, and fix problems.

Home Safety Tips:

  • Keep hallways, steps, and floors clear of anything you could trip over. Have enough light to see well.
  • If you use area rugs or throw rugs, make sure edges are flat to the floor. Tape them down with double-sided tape if needed.
  • Put in handrails along staircases and in the shower or bath and by the toilet.
  • Use non-slip mats in the shower or bathtub.
  • Move things you use often so they are easy to reach without using a step stool or ladder.
  • Clean up spills right away to avoid slipping.
  • In cold weather, watch for slick steps or sidewalks outside. You may want to use sand or salt on icy patches.

Tell your healthcare provider if you fall, even if you are not hurt.

“Explore."

You can work together to lower the risk of falling again. It’s also a good idea to be checked for any new health problems that may have led to your fall.

Here are more detailed tips from the National Institutes of Health on fall prevention at home. You can also watch some short videos about falls and older adults.

About the author

Sonya Flanders, RN, ACNS-BC
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Sonya is an adult clinical nurse specialist with Baylor and moved to Texas from Canada to become a Baylor nurse. She's focused on enhancing health education of older adults along with their families and caregivers.

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Prevent Falls at Your Home