Preventing Falls

People do things all the time that may make them fall. You can get hurt falling and not be able to do the things you like to do. The good news is that you can prevent falls.  

Fall Risks 

There are many things that can put you at risk for a fall. These include: 

  • Poor lighting
  • Stairs that are too steep or broken
  • Uneven floors or walking from a hardwood floor to carpeting 
  • Loose rugs
  • Wires or plugs that are in places where you walk
  • Uneven sidewalks and roads

Some health problems can cause falls, such as: 

  • Balance, hearing, or vision changes
  • Muscle weakness or numbness
  • Getting older
  • Stroke, Parkinson's disease, arthritis, or other problems
  • Some medications
  • A history of falls

Fear of Falling 

Some people are afraid of falling, especially if they have fallen before. You may worry about falling and may stop going out or doing what you enjoy. You may have to have others help you. A fear of falling puts you at risk for more falls. 

Precautions to Prevent Falls

 

There are things you can do to prevent falls, including: 

  • Be careful in the bathroom. The bathroom can be a dangerous place. The floor can get wet and slippery, making it easier to fall. You may trip or fall getting in and out of the tub or shower. To prevent falls in the bathroom: 

    • Use nonslip mats or strips in the bathtub or shower. 
    • Put grab bars inside and outside of the tub or shower. 
    • Put grab bars near the toilet to help you sit and stand. 
    • Clean up wet areas and spills as quickly as possible. 
  • Keep your muscles strong. Sitting too much puts you at risk for falling! Exercise to get stronger and improve your balance.  

  • Know your medications. People who take four or more medications may be at risk for falling. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of medications you take. Make sure you tell your doctor about all the medications you take. Don’t forget to talk about over-the-counter drugs, herbal medicines, and vitamins you take. 

  • Take care of your eyes. Poor vision can make it harder to get around safely. Have your eyes checked every year. Wear glasses or contact lenses with the right prescription. 

  • Have your hearing checked. Good hearing helps you notice sounds that can warn of danger. You may start to stay by yourself more and be less active if you cannot hear well. Not getting up and moving around can put you at risk for a fall. 

  • Make your house safer. About half of all falls happen at home. Use bright light bulbs to make rooms brighter. Wear good shoes, not slippers or flip-flops, when you are inside and outside. 

  • Use colors to show steps or doorways so you can see them clearly. If your bathroom is a light color, make sure the step into the shower is darker. On dark wooden floors, paint the edge of the steps a lighter color. You can also use colored tape to mark steps or doorways. 

  • Keep emergency phone numbers in large print close by. 

A home safety check can help identify fall risks in your home. Look for the home safety checklist [PDF] from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

More information can be found in our Audiology Information Series [PDF]. 

To find an audiologist near you, visit ProFind.

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