Elderly Fall Prevention

According to the CDC, one out of every three adults 65 years or older falls each year. A primary consequence of falling is fracture, which may lead to significant changes on an older person’s quality of life, everyday functioning & independence. Falls in the elderly can also have a larger impact on health care services and our larger society. In an effort to help prevent falls & raise an awareness of safety in everyday activities, the Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center Violence & Injury Prevention Program has compiled this simple list of things ANYONE can do to prevent falls in and out of their home. 

Factors that lead to falls: Why could this be a problem? Steps for safety improvement:

Exercise &/or Physical Exercise Program

Lack of exercise effects strength, balance and coordination

Maintain a regular exercise program (ALWAYS consult your physician prior to starting a new exercise regimen)

Physical Therapy and/or exercise can aide those who are at risk of falling with fall prevention programs. These programs can improve function, reduce risk of falls/injuries, and improve one’s quality of life and increase longevity.

Proper posture and balance exercise can improve balance, stretching and strengthening exercise can prevent muscle weakness and protect the joints

Appropriate exercise increases the blood circulation and helps to keep the body warm by generating more heat

Modify living areas so they are safer
Simple changes in and around your home could have a HUGE impact on decreasing your likelihood of falling

Remove tripping hazards

Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors

Have grab bars put in next to the toilet and in the tub or shower

Have handrails put in on both sides of all stairs

Anchor rugs, non-skid rubber mats

Remove clutter, exposed wire, or cord Keep halls and stairways well lit

Use nightlights in bathrooms and bedrooms

Maintain adequate lighting throughout your home

Select suitable bed height to ensure that the feet can reach the floor when sitting

When lifting things, use a proper technique: trying not to stoop- bend knees & keep back straight

Do not stand on foldable stool to get objects from height

When storing objects, those that are frequently used should be put on the middle shelf for easy transfer

Heavy and light objects which are rarely used should be put on the lower and upper shelves respectively

Vision Check

Poor vision can increase the risk of falling. Have an eye doctor check your vision each year.

Review Medications with your physician or pharmacist

The use of four or more prescribed medications has been found to be a risk factor for falls. In addition, some medications could possibly interact with each other or could have side effects that could increase the risk of falling

Ask your doctor to review all of their medicines in order to reduce side effects and interactions

Avoid medications that increase fall risk: Medications causing sedation; Medications causing hypotension or dizziness

When reviewing your medications with your physician or pharmacist, remember to include over the counter medications as well as herbal medicines.

Use appropriate Walking Aides, clothing & footwear


Making safer choices about your walking aides and clothing choices demonstrates smart sense in preventing situations that could cause falls

Wear flat, rubber soled, non-slip shoes

Use cane, or walker if needed

Consider a hip protection device

Use walking aids correctly and seek professional advice if in doubt

Wear pants of suitable length

Avoid wearing slippers or sandals when going out

Avoid wearing open-toed shoes

Outdoor risks and Changes in weather





The unexpected changes in the environment are a large source of falls

Put on warm clothing with hat, mittens and scarf during cold winter

Food can help in keeping warm.

Choose hot food with high calories i.e. biscuits and noodles

Keep the house warm. Heaters must be used with care to ensure safety, and adequate ventilation must be maintained

Keep the house cool and well-ventilated during summer.

Drink adequate water (8 cups a day) and avoid prolonged exposure under the sun to prevent heatstroke

Fire, burn or scalding prevention

Decreased mobility can sometimes cause fires or burns

Ensure that your smoke alarms have fresh batteries (recommendation is to have the batteries changed 2x a year)

The handle of saucepan and mouth of kettle should be turned inwards during cooking to avoid being toppled over by accident

Beware of scalding by steam when cooking without the lid of saucepan

Always uses gloves or towel as heat insulator when holding something hot

Avoid carrying containers which are full of hot liquid

Use whistling kettle which will give you a signal as a reminder when the water is boiled

Before going out, make sure that all gas taps and the unused electrical appliances are switched off

Remember, falls can affect seniors in many ways. Regardless of age, ANYONE can take any of the above steps to improve safety and prevent falls.