The Basics: Overview
You can make small changes to help prevent falls. One in 3 older adults will fall each year. Falling can lead to broken bones, trouble getting around, and other health problems – especially if you are age 65 or older.
A fracture (broken bone) can cause pain and disability. It can also make it hard to do everyday activities without help, like cooking a meal or taking a shower. Broken hips are a major cause of health problems and death among older adults.
You don’t have to be afraid of falling. Take these steps to prevent falls:
- Do exercises to improve your balance and leg strength.
- Review all medicines with your doctor or pharmacist. Some medicines can make you dizzy or sleepy.
- Ask your doctor if you need to take vitamin D pills.
- Get your vision checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Update your glasses or contact lenses when your vision changes.
- Make your home safer. For example, add grab bars inside and outside your bathtub or shower – and put railings on both sides of stairs.
The Basics: Am I at Risk?
Am I at risk of falling?
As people age, poor balance and weak muscles can lead to falls and fractures. Older adults usually fall while doing everyday activities, like walking or turning around.
Some older adults also have vision problems or medical conditions that can make a fall more likely. For example, diabetes can reduce feeling in your feet and a stroke can affect your balance. These conditions can make you more likely to fall.
You may be more likely to fall if you:
- Have fallen in the past year
- Have a health condition that makes it hard to walk or affects your balance, like diabetes or heart disease
- Have trouble walking, getting up from a chair, or stepping up onto a curb
- Take many different medicines, especially medicines to help you relax or sleep
- Have trouble seeing or have a vision problem like cataracts or glaucoma
If you are worried about falling, talk to your doctor or nurse about how balance exercises, physical therapy, and vitamin D can help. Find out more about preventing falls and fractures.