Falls are not uncommon in people age 65 and older, and can be an enormous burden on patients, their caregivers, and our healthcare system. Often older adults who fall do not fully recover. 

The reality is:

  • 1 in 3 older adults will have a fall each year. 
  • People who fall once are more likely to fall again. 
  • Falls are the leading cause of broken hips and head injuries.
  • Falls are also responsible for 40% of admissions to nursing homes.
  • One quarter of people 50+ who break their hips die within 12 months.  

Risk factors for falls include:

  • Weakness in legs
  •  Previous falls
  •  Balance problems
  • Slippery or poor fitting footwear
  • Bladder urgency
  • Vision issues
  • Taking more than 4 medications daily
  • Taking medications that cause drowsiness or drop in blood pressure
  • Age 80+
  • Confusion
  • Recent illness
  • Health conditions (such as Parkinson’s, depression, arthritis, stroke, dementia, diabetes)

Fall prevention: What can you do?

Exercise: Make sure you continue to participate in both strength and balance exercises.

Equipment: being aware of footwear, non-slip mats, aids to help with balance (such as canes, walkers etc), hip protectors, and nightlights can all help.

Awareness of hazards: Anything that can move, shift, or be a tripping factor can be a hazard. Examples include loose carpets, slippery floors, snow, clutter, poor lighting, pets, etc.

Vision: Make sure your vision is helping as much as possible by having your vision checked and maintaining appropriate eye glasses. Use nightlights in your bedroom and bathroom.

Health care team: Doctors and Pharmacists can help to review your medications. Occupational therapists can assess your home for falls risks. Community classes can increase your participation in exercise. Physiotherapists and kinesiologists can help with strength and balance exercises. They can also test for fall risks and even help you to learn how to fall, and how to get back up!

This information is from Interior Health’s Community Fall Prevention Education. See the attached link for more information: