Ready, Steady and Balance: 9 Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors

Seniors exercising together

According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), falls are the leading cause of injury and injury-related death among senior adults ages 65 and older today. According to statistics, one out of three seniors falls every year, and two-thirds of them will fall again within six months. Additionally, the risk of falling increases with each decade of life.

The NCOA adds that falls, with or without injury, also carry a heavy quality of life impact on seniors. A growing number of older adults fear falling and, as a result, limit their activities and social engagements. This can result in further physical decline, social isolation, depression and feelings of helplessness.

Says Susan Irrgang, RN, NHA, MBA, Administrator at Saunders House in Wynnewood, PA, “As we get older, we face a higher risk of injuries, especially from falls. This results from natural aging and changes to our balance, vision and reflexes. The good news, however, is that the heightened fall risk to seniors can be reduced significantly by taking specific preventive steps.” 

9 Ways to Prevent Falls for Senior Adults

There are a variety of helpful articles on fall prevention tips for seniors from credible sources such as the National Council on Aging, the National Institute on Aging and The Mayo Clinic. Articles include 6 Steps for Preventing Falls Among Your Older Loved OnesPrevent Falls and FracturesFall Prevention: Simple Tips to Prevent Falls and Senior Fall Prevention.

Some of the key fall prevention steps for seniors include:

  1. Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with your doctor – Senior adults should talk to their physician about all medications they are taking, including non-prescription medications, as well as health issues that could place them at risk of falls such as balance problems, dizziness or insomnia. The doctor can assess your risks and make suggestions that can help.
  2. Prioritize Stair Safety! – Many senior falls occur on the stairs. Make sure there are two secure rails on all stairs, and if the stairs are carpeted be sure that the carpeting is secure. Also be sure any throw rugs at the top and bottom of the stairs are properly secured. 
  3. Light Up Your Life – Increase lighting throughout the house, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. Ensure that lighting is readily available when getting up in the middle of the night. Seniors can consider motion sensor lighting to reduce the risk of nighttime falls.
  4. Wear Sensible Shoes – Seniors who wear high heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles are at greater risk of falling. Therefore, properly fitting sturdy shoes with nonskid soles are strongly recommended. In addition to reducing their fall risk, sensible shoes may also reduce joint pain for senior adults.
  5. Remove Clutter and Other Home Safety Hazards – Move furniture that is in the way and pick up items that are on the floor. Coil telephone and electrical wires next to the wall and keep items off the stairs. Also, secure loose carpets and slippery throw rugs with double sided tape and repair any wood floorboards that stick up and increase the risk of a fall.
  6. Avoid Slips in the Bathroom – Bathrooms are another high-risk area for senior falls. Apply non-slip mats or strips inside your shower or bathtub and install grab bars to further decrease the risk of falling. Use secure floor mats and always avoid having a wet floor. Seniors can also consider a walk-in bathtub to prevent bathroom falls. 
  7. Have Regular Eye Exams – Most senior adults wear prescription eyeglasses for proper vision. Therefore, it is imperative to have regular checkups with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Having a current prescription that meets your vision needs is another important way of minimizing your risk of tripping and falling.
  8. Do Not Stand Up Too Quickly – Getting up too quickly can cause seniors’ blood pressure to drop and increase the risk of falling. Therefore, get your blood pressure checked when lying and standing.
  9. Stay Active – Physical activityis another important way of reducing falls among senior adults.With your doctor's approval, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi – a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. These activities have been shown to reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

Susan adds, “Remember, falls present a serious danger to senior adults. But by following these expert tips, you can truly ‘add life to your years and years to your life!’”

We encourage you to call us with any questions you might have and to stay current on a variety of senior health and caregiver topics by viewing our latest articles on our website.

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, Ready, Steady and Balance: 9 Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors,we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

Discover Our Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

Located adjacent to Lankenau Medical Center, Saunders House – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has a celebrated tradition of providing exceptional care and services to seniors and their families. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Saunders House offers a range of services – including short-term rehabilitationtraditional nursing carerestorative carememory carerespite care and specialized care for individuals with visual impairments – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Saunders House, our short-term rehabilitation program and other professional services, please call us today at 610.658.5100 or contact us online.

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Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Saunders House and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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