United Home Health Services

Bringing the Hospital Home to You

Contact Us: 734-981-8820

Fall Prevention Tips

As people age, changes in their vision, hearing, muscle strength, coordination, and reflexes may make them more likely to fall.

They are more likely to have disorders that may affect their balance.

In addition, elderly people often take more medications that may cause dizziness or lightheadedness.

Preventing falls is especially important for people who have osteoporosis, a condition in which bone mass decreases so that bones are more fragile and break easily.

Every year thousands of elderly people are disabled, sometimes permanently, by falls that result in broken bones. Many of these injuries could be prevented by making simple changes in the home.

STEPS TO TAKE:

  • Keep walkways free from clutter and cords.
  • Keep fire exits clear. Remove throw rugs, use bathroom safety equipment.
  • Have your vision and hearing tested regularly and properly corrected.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about side effects of the medicines you are taking and ask whether they could affect your coordination or balance or cause dizziness.
  • Use caution when getting up too quickly after eating, lying down, or resting. Low blood pressure may cause dizziness at these times.
  • Wear supportive, rubber-soled shoes. Avoid wearing smooth-soled slippers or socks only on stairs and waxed floors.
  • Use a cane or walker to help maintain balance on uneven or unfamiliar ground or if you sometimes feel dizzy.
  • Use special caution and proper footwear when walking outdoors on wet or icy pavement.
  • Maintain a regular program of exercise to improve strength and muscle tone, and keep your joints and ligaments more flexible. Check with your doctor or physical therapist first.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol can disturb already impaired balance and reflexes.
  • Unplanned weight loss and malnutrition are common problems in the elderly that can affect strength and balance. If you have unexpectedly lost weight, check with your nurse or dietitian for nutrition recommendations.
  • Make sure that night time temperature in your home is at least 65 degrees F. Prolonged exposure to cold may cause a drop in body temperature, which may lead to dizziness and falling.