Every year, thousands of older adults fall and hurt themselves. Falls are one of the main causes of injury and disability in people age 65 and older. People who have had a
stroke or have
multiple sclerosis or
osteoporosis are also at risk. These
tips can help you avoid falls.
Take care of yourself
If you live alone, think about
wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall and can't get up.
Or carry a cordless or cell phone with you from room to room. Then you can
quickly call for help if you need it.
Have your vision
and hearing checked each year or anytime you notice a
change. If you have trouble seeing and hearing, you might
not be able to avoid objects that make you lose your balance.
If you are very weak or dizzy, have someone help you
get out of bed, walk, and bathe.
doctor if you have calluses or corns on your feet that
need to be removed. If you wear loose-fitting shoes because of calluses or
corns, you can lose your balance and fall.
doctor if you are dizzy and lose your balance. You may
have a health problem that needs treatment, such as an inner ear problem.
Learn ways to keep your balance
Exercise often to
improve your strength, muscle tone, and sense of balance. Walking is a great
way to start. Swimming can be a good choice if you can't walk well. For simple
exercises you can try at home, see
Quick Tips: Improving Your Balance.
low-heeled shoes that fit well and give your feet good support. Use footwear
with nonskid soles. Repair or replace worn heels and soles.
If you use a walker or cane, make sure it is fitted to you. Put rubber tips on it.
If you have pets, keep them in one place
at night. Train your pets not to jump or get underfoot.
Think about buying a collar with a bell for your pet so you will know
when your pet is nearby.
Learn about your medicines
Know the side
effects of medicines you are taking. Ask your
doctor if the medicines you take can
affect your balance. For instance, sleeping pills
and some medicines for anxiety can affect your
If you take two or more medicines, talk to your doctor
about how they work together. Sometimes combinations of medicines can
cause dizziness or sleepiness. Either of these can lead to
Make your home safer
Remove or fix things you could trip
over, such as raised doorway thresholds, throw rugs, or loose carpet.
Keep paths clear of electrical cords and
Use nonskid floor wax, and wipe up
spills right away.
Keep your house well
lit. Use night-lights (or keep the overhead light on at
night) in hallways and
Put sturdy handrails on stairways.
Make sure you have a light at the top and bottom of the
Store things on
lower shelves so you don't have to climb or reach high.
Keep a phone and a flashlight by your bed.
Check the flashlight batteries often to make sure they still
For each item, select the number that best describes your situation. Total your scores to get a big picture. Lower scores indicate less manageable situations; higher scores indicate situations that may be more readily managed.
The care receiver:
_____ (1) Has few if any financial assets
_____ (2) Doesn't qualify for government assistance programs
_____ (3) Is financially able to pay for needed support and care
_____ (1) Has no financial assets to give to the patient's care