How to Reduce Your Risk of Falling
Falls threaten the health, well-being and independence of
older people. Here's how to reduce your risk of falling.
- When moving from lying down to standing, sit up first
and stay sitting a moment or two. Then stand up slowly
and stand a few seconds before trying to walk.
- When you first wake up, sit on the edge of the bed
and make sure you are not dizzy before you get out of
- Use a cane or walker if you are unsteady. Promptly
replace worn rubber tips of these devices.
- Be careful around pets. They can get in front of your
feet or jump on you.
- Eat breakfast every morning. Skipping a meal could
make you dizzy.
- Wear clothes that fit properly. You can trip on a
coat, pair of pants or bathrobe that is too long.
- Don't leave clothes or newspapers on the floor.
- Close cabinet drawers so you won't stumble over them.
- If you are not close to the telephone when it rings,
don't rush to it. Fast, sudden moves could throw you
- Make sure you have access to a telephone that you
can reach to call for help if you fall. Consider carrying
a portable phone.
- Never grab a towel rack, shampoo holder or soap tray
for support in the shower. These will not hold a person's
- Let the soap suds go down the drain before you move
around in the shower. Do not turn suddenly.
- If you are prone to falling, use a shower chair and
a handheld shower attachment.
- Clean up puddles of water immediately.
- Do not lock the bathroom door. That will delay help
in reaching you.
- Arrange clothes in your closet so they are easy to
- Replace satiny sheets and comforters with products
made of nonslippery material, i.e., cotton, wool.
- Never carry any package that will obstruct your view
of the next step.
- Keep at least one hand on the handrail.
- Concentrate on what you are doing. Don't be distracted
- Wear glasses if you need them, but remove reading
glasses before you walk.
- Have your eyes checked regularly. Do not put off getting
- Use 100-watt bulbs, as light takes longer to reach
the back of your eye where you sense color motion. Note:
Only use higher watt bulbs if they do not exceed the
warning on your lamps or fixtures to avoid a fire hazard.
- Keep flashlights handy in event of a power outage.
- Feeling weak or dizzy can be a possible
side effect of many medications and can increase the
risk of falls. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about
side effects caused by your medications, and read the
information about side effects that comes with each
of your prescriptions.
- Have your feet measured each time you buy shoes since
your size can change.
- Buy properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles.
- Avoid shoes with extra-thick soles.
- Choose lace-up shoes instead of slip-ons, and keep
the laces tied
- Select footwear with fabric fasteners if you have
trouble tying laces.
- Use a long-handled shoehorn if you have trouble putting
- Shop in the men's department if you're a woman who
can't find wide enough shoes.
- Always keep your toenails well trimmed.