Sign In
Boston Public Health Commission Home


Older Adult Falls Prevention

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older adults in the United States and Massachusetts. From tripping down the stairs, 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, inner ear issues, 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.

Facts About Older Adult Falls
*Click the image above for a full sized version* 

Myths About Older Adult Falls

Older Adult Falls Myth vs. Reality (2).png
*Click the image above for a full sized version*
How Can You Prevent Falls?
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 or Matter of Balance, 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, the 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 such as adding grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathrooms, handrails for the stairs, 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. 

What We're Doing to Keep You Safe
Over the past year, The Boston Public Health Commission's Injury Prevention Program, in partnership with the Alzheimer's Association, has worked to find effective methods of incorporating brain health into our framework. Good cognitive health is an important factor in healthy aging and those living with dementia are amongst the most vulnerable. In an effort to strengthen the work we do in this area, we have created a multi-year action plan to bring attention to healthy aging issues, expand our collaborative efforts with local organizations and develop and distribute resource materials using the Healthy Brain Initiative's State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia: The 2018-2023 Road Map as a guide. See below for our Case Study.

Screen Shot 2020-09-19 at 10.42.13 AM.pngScreen Shot 2020-09-19 at 10.42.45 AM.png
*Click either image above for a full sized version of our Case Study* 

Local & State Organizations
*Each description below provides a clickable link to the organization's page* 
1 - Boston Elderly Commission.png
9 - Mayor's Health Line.png
2 - MADPH.png
3 - Central Boston Elder Services.png
4 - Ethos Tai Chi.png

5 - Ethos Matter of Balance.png
6 - BCYF Senior Programs.png
7 - Boston Home Center.png
8 - ESAC Senior Home Repairs.png
10 - SHIP.png

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: