Elderly ladies exercising in a gym.

Preventing Falls

Falls can have devastating consequences. Here are some things you can to do prevent them.

Safety Equipment

    • Install grab bars in shower, tub, and toilet areas.
    • Use non-slip mats or adhesive strips in shower or tub.
    • Consider sitting on a bench or stool in the shower.
    • Consider using an elevated toilet seat.
    • Install handrails on both sides of stairs.

Lighting

    • Have a lamp or light switch that can be reached before getting out of bed.
    • Use night lights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.
    • Make sure walkways are well lighted
    • Turn on the lights when you go into the house or a room at night.
    • Keep flashlights handy.

Clothing

    • Wear non-slip, low-heeled shoes that fit snugly; avoid stocking feet.
    • Make sure robes, gowns, or other clothing do not drag on the ground.

Environment

    • Remove all clutter; keep pathways clear.
    • Watch for spills on floors.
    • Watch for furniture, throw rugs, and pets that may cause you to trip.
    • Keep cords and tubing (e.g., phone, electrical, and oxygen) out of walkways.
    • Keep all bedding off the floor.
    • Tack rugs and glue vinyl flooring so they lie flat. Remove or replace rugs or runners that tend to slip, or attach non-slip backing.
    • Make certain that carpets are firmly attached to stairs.
    • Use chairs with arms.

Outdoors

    • Paint the edges of outdoor steps, and any steps that are especially narrow or higher or lower than the rest, with bright color for better visibility when walking.
    • Paint outside stairs with a mixture of sand and paint for better traction.
    • Keep outdoor walkways clear and well lighted.

Your Health

    • If you feel dizzy or light-headed, sit down or stay seated until your head clears, or call for assistance. Stand up slowly to avoid unsteadiness. Review medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Some drugs, including over-the-counter drugs, can make you drowsy, dizzy, or unsteady.
    • Have your hearing and eyesight tested. Inner ear problems can affect balance. Vision problems make it difficult to see potential hazards.
    • Exercise regularly to improve muscle flexibility and strength.
    • Take your time; do not to get up too quickly after eating, lying down, or resting. Keep call buttons, medical alarms, or phones nearby so you can call for help if you need it.
    • Use helping devices, such as canes and walkers, as instructed when necessary.