Risk Reduction Techniques For Preventing Falls
To reduce the risk of falling and breaking a bone use consider the following:
Personal Falls Prevention Checklist
- Avoid excessive drinking - Don't drink alcohol to excess. You have a higher risk of falling. Drinking alcohol while you are taking certain prescription drugs can also make it more likely you will fall. Talk to your doctor if you think your drinking has become a problem.
- Strengthen your legs - Talk to your doctor about a program to strengthen your leg muscles through walking or weight training.
- Increase balance - Consider taking tai chi to promote balance and fitness.
- Care for your vision - Have your eyesight checked regularly.
- Carefully lift heavy objects - Use proper technique when lifting heavy objects-bend at the knees, keep your back straight, and above all don't stoop. Ask for help when you need it.
- Keep your balance - Wear flat, rubber-soled shoes with a wide toe, or use a cane or walker to assist you in keeping your balance.
- Check blood pressure meds - Be especially careful when taking blood pressure medication, since lowering the pressure too much might cause you to feel lightheaded or dizzy upon standing.
- Protect your hips - If you already know you are prone to falling, you should consider wearing hip protectors that can be ordered over the internet.
Falls Prevention Around the Home
- Review medications with your doctor - Review a complete list of your medications, including prescription, over-the-counter and dietary supplements/herbal preparations, with your doctor or pharmacist to reduce the chance of duplicate and/or additive side effects such as confusion, drowsiness, loss of coordination, blood pressure that is too low when first standing up.
- Use adequate lighting - Keep rooms well lit, especially if you have trouble with your vision.
- Use nightlights - In bathrooms, halls, and bedrooms be sure to use a nightlight, or leave a light on and leave the door open a crack.
- Clean up the floor - Keep floors free of objects you could trip on. Do not run electrical cords across traveled areas.
- Install railings and lighting - Install railings and lighting at any steps, especially outdoors for safety in bad weather. Consider a handrail by the bathtub.
- Avoid throw rugs - Install wall-to-wall carpet, or non-skid mats on the floor instead of throw rugs.
The development of this topic was funded in part by the Ohio Department of Health.
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Last Reviewed: Jul 13, 2010
Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati
Thomas A deHoop, MD
Formerly Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Medical Student Education
No longer associated