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How to Prevent Falls

All people will eventually experience a fall. It might happen in the winter when snow and ice cover the ground, or it might happen climbing stairs or walking up or down a steep hill.

As people age, the risk of falling becomes greater for several reasons. First, a person’s eyesight often declines with age. Age can make seeing things like cracks in a sidewalk or a small step difficult. Another factor might be dizziness due to medication or other medical conditions. Additionally, people often become physically weaker as they age, which means that they can tire and fall more easily when moving. While falls are not usually very serious for young, healthy people, they can have serious effects on older adults and people who are weak due to illness or injury. Knowing how to prevent a fall from happening is important for any care provider.

Keep floors and stairs clean, dry, and free of clutter. Electrical cords and loose rugs can be tripping hazards, so be sure they are secured. Clean up all spills right away. It is easier to slip on a wet floor than a dry one. Make sure areas have good light. Using a nightlight at bedtime can help to prevent a nighttime fall.

If a person has been lying down and wants to get up, give her a few minutes to adjust to sitting before standing. Gently help her sit on the edge of the bed for a moment and when she is ready, slowly help her to stand. Sitting before standing can prevent dizziness that can lead to a fall.

Finally, falls can be prevented if people don’t have a need to get up. Keep items that a person might want, like drinks, books, television remotes, and tissues, within easy reach. Moving items that a person frequently wants to use to a nearby table or tray will remove the need for the person to get up in order to reach them.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners