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Falls Prevention for Older Adults

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older adults. Falls threaten seniors’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs. Falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact. A growing number of older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness. However, falls are NOT a normal part of aging. Falls are preventable! 

Tips to Reduce Fall Risk

  • Talk to your health care provider. Openly share your concerns and any history of recent falls. Your provider can assess your risk of falls and provide you with recommendations to reduce your risk.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercises that focus on balance and strength training, such as Tai Chi, can reduce the risk of falling. Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting new exercises, especially if you have weak balance or have a history of falls.
  • Regularly review your medications with your pharmacist and your doctor.  Make sure medicine side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling and take medications only as prescribed.
  • Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses.  People with untreated vision or hearing losses are more than three times as likely to fall.
  • Keep your home safe.  Remove tripping hazards, improve lighting, make stairs safe and install grab bars in key areas. See the Aspirus Safety Checklist to Prevent Falls for tips for keys areas in your home.
  • Talk to your family members and friends.  Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe – examples here.
  • Learn about falls prevention programming, resources, and services available in your area. Great sources of information include your healthcare provider and your local Aging & Disability Resource Center, aging agency, health department or senior center.

6 Steps to Prevent a Fall

 

Resources:

Connect to evidence-based falls prevention programs and other local resources on healthy aging:

  • Wisconsin: Find your local Aging & Disability Resource Center
  • Michigan:  Find your local Area Agency on Aging

Lifeline Medical Alert System

National Council on Aging

National Institute on Aging’s Exercise & Physical Activity Guidebook