Frequently Asked Questions

Fall Prevention

Make an appointment with your doctor:

Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with your doctor. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • What medications are you taking?
  • Have you fallen before?
  • Could your health conditions cause a fall?

Keep Moving

Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With your doctor's OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi - a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

If you avoid physical activity because you're afraid it will make a fall more likely, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist. The physical therapist can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait.

Wear Sensible Shoes

Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan. High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in your stocking feet.

Instead:

  • Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes, since foot size can change.
  • Buy properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles.
  • Avoid shoes with extra-thick soles.
  • Choose lace-up shoes instead of slip-ons, and keep the laces tied. If you have trouble tying laces, select footwear with fabric fasteners.
  • If you're a woman who can't find wide enough shoes, try men's shoes

Remove home hazards

Take a look around your home. Your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways may be filled with hazards.

To make your home safer:

  • Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
  • Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.
  • Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing - or remove loose rugs from your home.
  • Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away.
  • Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.
  • Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.
  • Use nonskid floor wax.
  • Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.

Light Up your Living Space

Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.

Also:

  • Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
  • Place a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs.
  • Make clear paths to light switches that aren't near room entrances. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.
  • Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
  • Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.

Use assistive devices

Your doctor might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady. Other assistive devices can help, too.

For example:

  • Hand rails for both sides of stairways
  • Nonslip treads for bare-wood steps
  • A raised toilet seat or one with armrests
  • Grab bars for the shower or tub
  • A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub - plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down

Are you at risk of falling?

Take the Fall Prevention Self Assessment

  • Do you take 4 or more medications daily?
  • Have you fallen in the past year?
  • Do you wear flobby slippers or a long bathrobe?
  • Do you have trouble getting in and out of the bathtub?
  • Do you have trouble walking without holding onto something?
  • Do you have trouble getting in and out of a chair?
  • Do you have trouble with your balance?
  • Do you have throw rugs?
  • Do you have stairs (inside or outside) without rails?
  • Do you have clutter in your walking space?
  • Do you have trouble seeing pathways or pets?
  • Are you afraid of falling?

    If you checked any of the boxes above, please review the falls prevention checklist with your physician and a friend or family member to identify and correct specific problems that may lead to a fall.

    References:http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fall-prevention/HQ00657/NSECTIONGROUP=2