Fall Prevention Resources for Individuals

What Can I Do to Prevent a Fall?

 
 
By​ visiting this site and arming yourself with knowledge, you have taken the first step toward protecting yourself from a serious fall. Here are four simple things you can do to lower the risk of falls:
 
  • List of free falls prevention programs throughout the state
  • Have your doctor review your prescription and over-the-counter medications. As we age, our bodies don't use medications as efficiently as they used to. Some medications, or combinations of medicines, might cause dizziness or reduce alertness.
  • Get your vision checked. You could be wearing outdated prescription lenses or have a condition such as glaucoma or cataracts that reduces how well you can see.
  • Get moving! Talk to your doctor about specific exercise routines that focus on improving balance and strength. Tai Chi has proven effective for this.
  • Refer to the tips below to make your home safer. About half of falls happen at home, and many can be prevented.

Make Your Home Safe

Many falls in the home can be prevented with a few simple adjustments. Here are some room-to-room tips you can adopt for a safer home. In addition, consider wearing an alarm or whistle to summon help in case of a fall.
 

Floors, Stairs and Steps

  • Move furniture so paths are clear
  • Remove or secure floor rugs to prevent slipping and tripping
  • Keep clutter and unnecessary objects off the floor and stairs
  • Place cords next to the wall to prevent tripping
  • Repair loose or uneven steps
  • Make sure carpet is firmly attached to the floor and stairs
  • Tighten or replace loose handrails
  • Install switches for overhead lighting at the top and bottom of stairs

Kitchen, Laundry and Bathroom

  • Buy smaller-sized products, such as laundry soap and milk
  • Keep frequently used items within easy reach
  • Get a step stool with a handle to grip; never use a chair
  • Apply a non-slip rubber mat to the tub or shower floor
  • Install sturdy grab bars for the tub or shower and next to the toilet

Bedrooms

  • Place a lamp close to the bed within easy reach
  • Install a night-light so you can see where you're walking
  • Add lighting to dark areas and hang shades or curtains on windows to reduce glare

Other

  • Always wear shoes inside and outside the house
  • Place a phone near the door in case you fall and can't get up

Community Resources

toolbox iconFall Prevention Resources

The Oregon Fall Prevention Program aims to reduce senior falls by linking clinical practice to evidence-based fall prevention programs in the community. For more information on any of these programs please use our Request More Information form.

  • The STEADI Fall Prevention Toolkit is designed to help healthcare providers incorporate falls risk assessment and proven interventions into their clinical practice, by referring patients to three evidence-based programs designed for varying levels of mobility.
  • Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance is a simplified eight-form program derived from Yang-style Tai Chi, that helps older adults improve their balance and reduce the likelihood of falling when practiced for at least 12 weeks.
  • The Stepping On Falls Prevention Program is a seven-week class in a small-group setting that helps older adults learn balance exercises and develop specific knowledge and skills to prevent falls.
  • The Otago Exercise Program is an individually tailored balance and strength program delivered by physical therapists in the hom

Take the quiz below to find out your risk of falling, and talk to your doctor about what you've learned.

 
​Circle Yes or No   ​Why is this important?
​Yes (2) ​No (0) I have fallen in the past year.​ ​People who have fallen once are likely to fall again.
​Yes (2) ​No (0) ​I use or have been advised to use a cane or walker to get around safely. ​People who have been advised to use a cane or walker may already be more likely to fall. Unsteadiness or needing support while walking are signs of poor balance.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​Sometimes I feel unsteady when I am walking. ​This is also a sign of poor balance.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I steady myself by holding onto furniture when walking at home. ​People who are worried about falling are more likely to fall.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I am worried about falling. ​People who are worried about falling are more likely to fall.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I need to push up with my hands to stand up from a chair. ​This is a sign of weak leg muscles, a major reason for falling.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I have some trouble stepping up to a curb. ​​This is a sign of weak leg muscles, a major reason for falling.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I often have to rush to the toilet. ​Rushing to the bathroom, especially at night, increases your risk of falling.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I have lost some feeling in my feet. ​Numbness in your feet can cause stumbles and lead to falls.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I take medicine that sometimes makes me feel light-headed or more tired than usual. ​Side effects from medicines can sometimes increase your chance of falling.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I take medicine to help me sleep or improve my mood. ​These medicines can sometimes increase your chance of falling.
​Yes (1) ​No (0) ​I often feel sad or depressed​. ​Symptoms of depression, such as not feeling well or feeling slowed down, have been linked to falls.
Total:___________________​ ​ ​ ​
​Add up the number of points for each "yes" answer. If you scored 4 points or more, you may be at higher risk of falling. Discuss this quiz with your doctor. ​ ​ ​
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