Falling is not an inevitable part of growing older, but rather can be prevented by making a few simple changes to everyday life. Unfortunately, falls is a leading cause of injury and death for Montanans age 65 and older. Hip fractures and brain injury are all too common injuries frequently associated with loss of independence following a fall. The good news is that most falls can be prevented!
STEADI Stay Independent
How Can Older Adults Prevent Falls
- Begin a regular exercise program
Exercise is one of the most important ways to lower your chances of falling. It makes you stronger and helps you feel better. Exercises that improve balance and coordination (like Tai Chi) are the most helpful. Lack of exercise leads to weakness and increases your chances of falling. Ask your doctor or health care provider about the best type of exercise program for you.
- Have your health care provider review your medicines
Have your doctor or pharmacist review all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines. As you get older, the way medicines work in your body can change. Some medicines, or combinations of medicines, can make you sleepy or dizzy and can cause you to fall.
- Have your vision checked
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. You may be wearing the wrong glasses or have a condition like glaucoma or cataracts that limits your vision. Poor vision can increase your chances of falling.
- Make your home safer
About half of all falls happen at home. To make your home safer:
Remove things you can trip over (like papers, books, clothes, and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk. Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping. Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool.
Have grab bars put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower. Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors. Improve the lighting in your home. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Hang light-weight curtains or shades to reduce glare. Have handrails and lights put in on all staircases. Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. And avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
What Program Helps to Reduce Falls?
Stepping On is an evidence-based fall prevention program that reduces falls among participants. The Stepping On course is a seven week program designed to help older adults reduce their risk for falls. Participants attend a weekly two hour session that includes an interactive discussion, snacks and story-telling to promote adult learning.
- Is 60 years or over
- Has had a fall in the past year or is fearful of falling;
- Is living in a home or apartment; and
- Is not suffering from dementia
Where Are Stepping On Courses Available?
Stepping On is being offered in many communities throughout Montana, with more being added each year. Currently there are 21 sites that are offering the course in these communities.
Where Can I Get More Information?
Contact the Injury Prevention Program, 406-444-4126 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Injury Prevention Program Contact Info