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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Injury Prevention

Falls

As your age increases, so does your risk of falls. A fall can lead to serious injuries, health problems and emotional scarring that can affect your quality of life.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, "one third of Canadian seniors experience a fall each year... 40 per cent of those falls result in hip fractures, often causing disability, loss of independence or death... [and falls] are the cause of 62 per cent of seniors' injuries requiring hospitalization." According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, more than 73,000 fall-related hospitalizations took place in Canada in 2008-2009. Half of all falls occur in the home.

The good news is that you can prevent falls with some simple actions:

  • Exercise regularly to maintain strength, flexibility and confidence.
  • Eat regular, healthy meals to maintain strength.
  • Plan ahead and take things slowly. Rushing increases your risk of falling.
  • Keep objects within easy reach, such as a phone on your nightstand or hygiene items in the bathroom.
  • Visit your doctor. Have your vision and hearing checked yearly.
  • Use medication safely and follow instructions carefully.
  • Remove clutter. Clear objects from stairs and floors. Remove electrical or telephone cords and other trip hazards from traffic areas.
  • Ensure a safe, barrier-free pathway to the bathroom at night and use a light to help guide you.
  • Take care of your feet and use comfortable, flat footwear.
  • Use any walking aids such as canes and walkers correctly and ensure they are in good condition.
  • Secure rugs and carpeting. Removed scattered rugs to avoid tripping.
  • Use grab bars in bathrooms and use other assistive devices when necessary. Don't hold on to towel racks.
  • Dress safely, sitting down rather than standing on one foot.
  • Get a good night's rest.
  • Use chairs that are easy to get in and out of. They should not be too soft or low to the ground.
  • Remove clutter outdoors and make sure pathways, stairs and porches are in good repair and clear of ice and snow.
  • Keep pets under control -- they're adorable tripping hazards.