Fall Protection Safety Tips

Did you know falls put you at risk of serious injury? Knowledge and Prevention are the keys to reducing the chance of a dangerous fall in your home.  There are plenty of proactive ways you can prepare to reduce your risk of a slip, trip or fall. Fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life.

Steps to help reduce the risk of falls:

  • Talk openly with your doctor. Let them know if you have fallen before. Discuss your medication and possible side effects. Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk. Your doctor may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well.
  • With your doctors OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi- gentle exercise that involves slow movements reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance coordination and flexibility.
  • Wear sensible shoes that fit properly and have nonskid soles.  Sensible shoes may also reduce joint pain.  Avoid moving about your house in bare feet, socks or slippers.
  • Remove home hazards like electrical and phone cords from walkways.  Secure rugs with double faced tape or remove loose rugs from your home.  Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.  Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower and use a bath seat which allows you to sit while showering.
  • Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.  Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways.
  • Your doctor might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady.  Other assistive devices can help like, hand rails, nonslip treads for bare-wood steps, a raised toilet seat or one with armrest, grab bars for the shower or tub and a sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub.
  • Keep a phone or your medical alert system on you at all times.

What to do if you fall:

  • Stay Calm and take slow and steady deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth and carefully examine yourself for injuries.
  • If you have a serious injury such as head trauma, bleeding or a broken bone, do not attempt to move and use your medical alert system or call 911 from your phone.
  • If you have not suffered a severe injury and can get up, look around for the closest piece of sturdy furniture, such as a chair and slowly crawl or drag yourself to the piece of furniture. You will use this as leverage to pull yourself up. Try and get to a kneeling position, using your arms to steady yourself, push up with your legs and slowly turn so that you’re sitting in the chair.  If you begin to feel dizzy at any point, remain on the floor and call for help.
  • ALWAYS alert your loved ones and your doctor no matter how minimal the fall is.  Falling once doubles your chance of falling again.

 Overall Safety:

  • Keep a list of emergency contacts by every phone.
  • Create a plan on “how” to call for help and “who” to call.
  • Remove unnecessary furniture to create a clear walking.
  • Plug in a nightlight in every room.
  • Move kitchen items to lower cabinets to prevent the need for a step stool.
  • Have both a lamp and a light switch by the bedside.
  • Keep flashlights in each room in case of a power outage.

Additional Resources:

CDC Falls Are Serious and Costly

CDC Cost Of Older Adult Falls

CDC Medications Linked to Falls

6 Falls Prevention Steps to Help Your Older Loved Ones

Hearing Loss and the Increased Risk of Falls

MAYO CLINIC Fall Prevention: Simple Tips to Prevent Falls