Are you at risk for a fall?
Anyone can fall, but as one ages, the risk increases. Falls are the leading cause of serious injury among seniors (e.g., those over the age of 65). The good news is most falls can be prevented. Knowing the 6 warning signs of falls is the first step to help determine one’s fall risk.
(For individuals over 65 years of age)
- Previous Falls: One fall in the past six months
- Fear of Falling: Afraid that you will fall
- Medications/Drugs: Using sedatives, fluid pills, recreational drugs, blood pressure pills or more than four medications.
- Balance and Mobility: Any problems with balance or unable to raise from a chair
- Medical Conditions: For example, Stroke or Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Vision Problems: Blurred/double vision, difficulty seeing steps or walking in dim light
If two or more of the above warning signs are present with an individual, they may have an increased risk for falling and they should speak to their health care provider.
In addition to knowing the warning signs that increase fall risk, the following tips will help you identify safe practices to reduce the risk of falling:
- Slow down and take time to be safe.
- Be physically active for a total of 30 to 60 minutes most days.
- Have your vision and hearing checked regularly.
- Discuss your medication & supplements with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet, drink plenty of water & limit your alcohol.
- When walking outside, be aware of your surroundings and watch where you step.
- Use safety equipment such as canes, walkers, grab bars & rubber bath mats.
- Wear non-slip shoes, boots & slippers that fit well & seek treatment for foot problems.
- Use a night-light and keep a flashlight by your bed.
- Complete a home safety checklist.
Source: Grey Bruce Health Unit, (2009)
For further falls information contact the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit 519-258-2146 ext. 3100 or for fall prevention clinics contact the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre at 519-997-2823 x417.
This resource provides simple exercises that can be done in your own home without the need to purchase any expensive exercise equipment.
This resource has recently been updated. You can order your own copy of the booklet by calling 519-258-2146 ext. 3100
For more information on falls prevention, visit:
Finding Balance Alberta. Their website includes additional information on how to prevent falls and provides resources.
Parachute, Canada’s leader in injury prevention has dedicated Falls in Seniors
Loop is the national Fall Prevention Community of Practice that supports professionals to improve their fall prevention efforts. Here you can be linked to some online fall prevention training.
This resource provides information on preventing falls in older adults. This local resource takes an ACTIVE approach to the prevention of falls in older adults:
A – Assessment Check Yourself
C – Community Resources
T – Time to Move (Physical Activity)
I – Involve Others
V – Verify Medications
E – Environment
This resource provides the facts about falls and provides ways to protect you or your loved one from experiencing a fall.
Caregiving Essentials is a free eight-week online course for family or informal caregivers of older adults which covers a lot of key topics. There are also free short caregiving webinars offered.