Falls are the leading cause of injury death and contribute significantly to residential care placement among older adults. As people age, the risk of falling increases. Older adult falls may lead to reduced body function and premature loss of independence, and may indicate a more serious underlying health problem. Falls often occur around the home, and with an increasing number of older people living home alone, education in falls risks and prevention is extremely important.

Risk Factors:

  • Decreased vision
  • Medication side effects
  • Balance problems and dizziness
  • Circulatory disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Depression
  • Arthritis
  • Incontinence
  • Living alone
  • Impaired mobility and gait
  • Inactivity
  • Fear of falling
  • Illness such as Dementia
  • Poor nutrition
  • Slippery floor, clutter, poor lighting, uneven surfaces
  • Poor fitting footwear or clothing

What can you do to prevent falls?

  • Participate in regular physical activity. It improves balance, strength and flexibility and helps you feel better. Try some exercises that improve your balance and coordination like Tai Chi.
  • Avoid activities which increase the risk of falls such as climbing ladders
  • Ask for help with activities which increase your risk of falling
  • Wear comfortable shoes with good grip, avoid socks and stockings which are slippery on tiles
  • Remove household clutter, have adequate lighting, remove loose rugs, keep frequently used items in areas that can be accessed easily
  • Do not use towel bars, sink edges, walls etc. for support because they may break away
  • Keep a lamp, phone and torch on your bed side table
  • Home modifications such as grab rails in toilet and bathroom
  • Clear away garden tools and clutter and repair cracked paths
  • Walking aids as directed by a doctor or allied health professional
  • Use of equipment such as non-slip mats in the shower and bath
  • Take medication only as prescribed
  • Have your doctor or pharmacist review your medications regularly.
  • Have your vision regularly checked by an optometrist as recommended.
  • Pay attention, use good habits and do not rush what you are doing.

How do I recover from a fall?

If you can get up:

  • Calm down and catch your breath;
  • Check to make sure you are not injured before you try to get up;
  • Roll onto your side;
  • Crawl or drag yourself to a chair;
  • Place your hands onto the chair while in a kneeling position;
  • Place one knee forward, with that foot on the floor;
  • Push up with your arms and legs to pivot yourself around; and,
  • Sit down and rest before you try moving.

If you cannot get up:

  • Do not panic;
  • Attract attention by making noise;
  • Press your personal alarm;
  • Place something under your head to make yourself comfortable e.g. a pillow, cushion or rolled up piece of clothing;
  • Keep warm using a tablecloth or rug; and,
  • Try to gently move around so you do not get pressure sores or joint stiffness.

Note: The information contained in this sheet is general advice only and not tailored to your individual needs. For more specific information, please contact your doctor or Age at Home Australia on 07 3040 7511 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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