Fall Prevention in Older Adults

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great FALL! And, we don’t mean the autumn season either. Read more to find out how to stay independent and prevent falls.

In the United States, an older adult falls every second of every day. Falls are the most common reason for emergency room visits and hospital admissions for people over age 65. They are also the leading cause of injury deaths in this same age group. Most falls happen at home and most times they are preventable.

September 22, 2018, the first day of fall, marks the 10th annual National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. There are many activities and classes being held in your community that help to promote fall prevention. Two evidence-based programs – meaning that they are tested and proven to be effective in preventing falls – are Stepping On and Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance. Both programs focus on improving strength and balance, and the Stepping On class teaches various methods of prevention in order to keep older adults independent and living in their own homes.

General Tips for Preventing Falls include:

  • Begin and maintain a regular exercise program. Regular exercise helps improve strength, balance, and flexibility.
  • Have your doctor or pharmacist review what medications you are taking. Some medicines can affect balance and/or cause drowsiness.
  • Have your vision checked at least annually and more often if you have any eye diseases or any problems with your vision. Update your glasses as needed.
  • In your home, install grab bars, improve lighting, remove any clutter or tripping hazards.
  • Have handrails and lights installed on all staircases.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Most adults who fall don’t tell their doctor. Talk regularly and openly with your doctor about fall prevention and report any falls you may have had.

When Tai Chi classes or Stepping On Classes are offered in your community, do not hesitate to join in. Remember falls are not and should not be considered a normal part of aging!

For more information on this topic contact Four Corners Health Department at 1-877-337-3573. Send your questions to: info@fourcorners.ne.gov. You can also learn more about fall prevention by visiting the National Council on Aging at ncoa.org/FallsPrevention or your local area agency on aging.