Falls in Older Adults

Older adults (aged 65+) made more than 3 million visits to emergency departments in 2019 for falls. According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 out of 4 older people fall every year, but less than half tell their doctors. Falling once doubles the chance of falling again.

There are various conditions, or risk factors, that can contribute to an individual falling. Some of these include:

  • A decline in physical fitness, including lower body weakness
  • Difficulty with walking or balance
  • Vision problems
  • Foot pain or poor footwear
  • Medications that affect balance and stability
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Chronic diseases
  • Surgical procedures
  • Environmental or home hazards

An injury caused by a fall can limit mobility and independence. Rehabilitation can aid in recovery from these types of injuries by helping a person regain strength and alleviate pain, while also improving movement, balance, and agility.

The best course of action, however, is to prevent falls from occurring. Talk to your doctor to evaluate your risk and determine preventative actions you can take.

Some tips to prevent falls include: 

  • Wear non-slip footwear
  • Look before you step, move slowly and examine surroundings
  • Watch for hazards like water, cords, clutter, or loose rugs on floors
  • Use handrails whether inside or outside
  • Install raised toilet seats, grab bars, and shower mats in the bathroom
  • Do strength and balance exercises
  • Have your vision checked
  • Walk in well-lit areas and light up dark areas in your home
  • Replace chairs that are low to the ground and difficult to get out of

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