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HOME > WHAT WE DO BY TOPIC > CHILDRENS HEALTH > INJURY PREVENTION > Older Adult Falls Prevention

Older Adult Falls Prevention

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Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older adults in the United States and Massachusetts. From tripping downstairs, slipping in the bathtub, or losing their balance, an older adult suffers from a fall every second. There are several risk factors that can make an older adult more vulnerable to falling, including lower body weakness, difficulties with walking and balance, vision problems, medicines, and home hazards. As Boston's older adult community continues to grow and live longer, it’s important for us to provide the necessary information and resources to help prevent older adult falls.
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1. Exercise to Improve Your Strength and Balance 

Stay physically active to keep your legs stronger, improve your balance, and lower your chances of falling. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program, like Tai Chi, that's best for you. In addition, improving your strength and balance can help maintain your independence, and keep you engaged in your everyday life and community. 

2. Have Your Eyes Checked Every Year 
As people age, risk for vision loss and eye-related diseases can increase, and consequently, increase your risk for falling. People with vision problems, including glaucoma or cataracts, are twice as likely to fall compared to those without any visual impairments. Have your vision checked once a year by your doctor, and make sure your prescription is up to date. 

3. Keep Your Home Safe 
More than half of all falls occur at home. Remove tripping hazards from stairs and walkways. Home modifications including adding grab bars in the bathrooms, handrails for the stairs, non-slip mats in the bathrooms, and improved lighting can help prevent potential falls. 

4. Check Your Medications and Side Effects 
Talk to your doctor to review all of your medications and their potential side effects. Some medications can make you dizzy or sleepy, increasing your risk of falling. 

5. Talk to Your Doctor
Have your doctor evaluate your risk for falling and tell them if you have fallen in the past year, or have any fears about falling. They can perform health assessments, including STEADi (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries, and TUG (Timed Up and Go), to help you maintain your health, mobility, and independence. In addition, they may recommend walking aids to help you remain fall-free. 


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Boston Public Health Commission
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Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org