Fall Prevention Education

by Sarah Woodford, PT, DPT

Fall Prevention Education

Falling is scary, and hundreds of thousands of patients a year are hospitalized due to injuries from a fall. Follow these tips to help prevent falls, or to take care of yourself if you do fall.

Falling facts

  • 1 in 4 Americans age 65 and older are at risk of a fall.
  • 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized due to fall-related injuries.
  • 44% of falls occur inside the home. These falls occur most frequently in the bedroom, dining room, and kitchen.
  • 20% of fall result in serious injuries such as hip fractures, wrist fractures or traumatic brain injuries
  • If someone cannot stand after a fall, they are at risk for hypothermia, dehydration, and pressure ulcers.

Plan B: always have a way to call for help

If you do fall, make sure that you have a way to get help quickly.

  1. Cell phone: call a family member, friend, neighbor, or 911 if you are injured.
  2. Emergency alert system: to call 911 for help, often using a button around the neck
  3. Phone apps: such as Lifeline Response, Man Down, iMed Alert, or 5star

Hazards in the home

Watch out for these common hazards that increase the risk of a fall.

  • Throw rugs
  • Pets
  • Clutter/boxes on the floor
  • Wires
  • Wet bathroom/kitchen floor
  • Stairs/stair runners
  • Walking while carrying other objects

How to get up if you do fall

  1. Take a minute. Don’t try to get up right away.
  2. Assess yourself. Are you injured? If you’re injured, call for help before you get up.
  3. Even if you’re not injured, is there anyone nearby who can help you?
  4. Look for something sturdy nearby, like a chair or a stair, to help you get up.
  5. If you’re on your back, slowly roll over onto your front.
  6. Slowly get to your hands and knees and make sure that you’re steady.
  7. If you’re not next to it, crawl towards the sturdy item.
  8. Use the chair or stair to help you kneel, and then go from kneeling to sitting in the chair or on the stair. Don’t try to stand up directly.
  9. Sit and make sure you’re steady before you try to stand.
  10. When you stand, wait several moments to make sure you’re ok before you try to walk again.

Ways to prevent falls in your home

  • Work on strengthening your legs.
  • Work on your balance.
  • Keep your house clear of tripping hazards.
  • Go for daily walks.
  • Limit the number of things you carry at a time.