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6 ways to prevent future falls

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A fall can be scary for the person who falls and their family.  It can be mentally and emotionally stressful for both the senior and family caregivers, and it’s easy to dismiss the incident’s severity or think it was just a one-time occurrence.  

Typically, we focus on the first fall’s immediate health and injuries (fractures).  Studies have shown that one fall doubles the chance of another.  Many seniors who fall avoid telling their doctor, which can exacerbate the issue.  Therefore, addressing contributing factors is essential.

If left unchecked, a fear of falling and losing confidence can lead to seniors limiting their movements around the home and resulting in isolation from the community.  This inactivity not only weakens muscles but can also lead to long-term chronic illnesses such as osteoporosis, which makes seniors more prone to fractures.  

Fortunately, there are six steps we can take to help prevent future falls. 

  1. We need to understand what causes the falls.  For example, could it be leg weakness and poor balance, dizziness from certain medications, weak eyesight, dehydration, inadequate lighting, low blood pressure, or alcohol consumption?
  1. Once we identify the contributing factors, consider professional evaluation.  It may involve making the home safer and ensuring the older person takes their medication correctly, adjusting the medication times, and encouraging the senior to stay active.
  1. Exercise plays a crucial role in fall prevention.  Encourage early physical rehabilitation or physiotherapy to help seniors regain their confidence and strength.  Consult a doctor or physical therapist for an exercise program that builds balance, movement, strength, and flexibility. 
  1. Practice home exercises into daily routines, such as:
  • Wall Stand: Stand tall against a wall for 1 minute to improve posture and stability.
  • Knee Lifts: Lift one knee at a time and alternate with the other leg for 2 minutes to build leg strength.
  • Balance Hold: Hold the lifted knee for 10 seconds to improve balance and endurance.
  1. Seek support from a healthcare professional to address other underlying causes of the fall, particularly for people with stroke and dementia.  For example, postural hypotension (measure and compare both sitting and standing blood pressure readings), medication review if there are duplicate prescriptions or changes in health conditions.
  1. Conducting tests to assess physical conditions, balance, gait, and strength can provide valuable insights into the individual’s risk of falling.  For example, can the older adult stand up from a chair without using extra support?  Is the older adult experiencing pain?


By understanding the causes of falls, implementing practical exercises, and seeking professional evaluation, we can help keep older adults safe and prevent future falls.

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