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Falls Across the Lifespan - Adults - Preventing Falls

Preventing Falls

The good news is that you can prevent most falls by making healthy choices and being mindful of your surroundings.

The positive steps you take now will help you prevent falls in the future.

Here are six things you can do to help prevent falls and related injuries:

Be Active

  • Adults who do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week decrease their risk for a fall by up to 50%.
  • Balance training, such as yoga, is helpful in reducing the risk of falling.
  • Strength training, such as lifting weights, increases muscle mass and decreases falls and fall-related injuries.

Learn more about physical activity

Eat Well

  • Eat Well with Canada’s Food Guide
  • Healthy eating reduces the risk of developing obesity and osteoporosis, which can lead to an increased risk of falling and injury.
  • Postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for developing osteoporosis, a disease which makes your bones brittle, and can lead to falls and fractures. Eating well and being active can help to prevent osteoporosis.

Learn more about healthy eating

Check the environment inside and outside for fall risks

Knowing what is in your surroundings makes you aware of slip, trip and fall risks so that you can avoid them.

Tips to prevent indoor falls:

  • Stairs and Steps: Use hand rails for balance and keep stairs free from clutter. Be aware of uneven and unmarked edges on stairs and poorly fitted hand rails.
  • Floors: Keep floors clear of clutter. Clutter such as toys, books and electrical cords can cause you to fall. Floor mats are fall risks. If you must use them, make sure they do not slide (such as rubber backed mats).
  • Lighting: Place night lights in dark areas as they work well to prevent falls in the dark.
  • Pets:  Know where your pets are to avoid tripping over them.
  • Other:Keep items you use often within reach. For items out of your reach, use a step stool or sturdy step-ladder.

Tips to prevent outdoor falls:

  • Plan ahead: Rushing may cause you to trip. Allow for extra time while walking if it is slippery outside.
  • Look out for fall risks in the environment: Risks include wet surfaces, leaves, black ice, snow covered driveways and sidewalks. Use salt or sand on icy surfaces. Make sure your footwear has good grip. Watch for uneven surfaces and steps. Keep your steps and walkways clear.
  • Ladder Safety: When using a ladder, do not overreach - move the ladder when needed. Never stand, climb, or sit on the top of the ladder. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions that come with your ladder.
person shovelling snowy walkway

Avoid distracted walking:

  • Texting while walking is a new trend. It has already been linked to trips and falls. People who try to do several things at once while walking may not see things around them which can lead to a trip, slip or stumble.
  • Pay more attention to your surroundings. This may make it less likely to slip, trip, and fall.

Know the facts about alcohol

  • Alcohol can make you less steady on your feet.
  • Alcohol use can increase your risk of slipping, tripping and stumbling.
  • If you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, drink less.

To learn more about alcohol

Know your medications

  • Medications could increase your risk for a fall due to their side effects. Some medications make you drowsy, others affect your balance. This includes over the counter medications.

Tips for use of medication:

  • Know your medications
  • Take medications as directed.
  • Know the activities you may or may not do while on medications.
  • Check with your health care provider for side effects of your medications.