Tips & Facts
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Falls and Prevention for Seniors
Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among the elderly. One
out of every three people over the age of 65 will experience a fall.
Be careful when going outside during winter weather. Wear safe, sturdy shoes or
boots with thin, non-slip soles. Make sure to keep porches, sidewalks and
driveways free of ice and snow. Hold onto railings when going up and down steps.
If possible, do errands during daylight hours when it is easier to see slippery
spots. If you must be out at night, take a flashlight to illuminate walking
Use this checklist from the Brain Injury
Association of New Jersey to identify potential improvements for your
home and your life.
Stairways, Hallways and
All stairs and stair
coverings are in good repair.
Handrails are sturdy and
run the full length of the stairs.
All stairways are well
lit. I can clearly see the outline of each step going down.
Hallways and entrances are well lit indoors and
Stairways, hallways and entrances are kept
clear and free of clutter.
Sidewalks and walkways are level and free of
cracks or holes.
Pathways and steps are free of ice, snow,
newspapers and leaves.
- Tubs and showers have a non-skid mat, decals,
abrasive strips or non-slip surface.
- Sturdy grab bars or handrails are installed by
the toilet and in tubs and showers.
- Tub seat, hand-held shower and/or raised toilet
seat with arms are used if needed.
- Bathroom rugs have non-skid backing. Bathroom
floors have a non-slip surface.
- I keep a working flashlight and telephone by
- There is a light switch or lamp within reach of
- The bed is right at the proper height to allow
- Papers, magazines, books, shoes and boxes are
kept off the floor.
- I can turn on the light in each room without
having to walk through dark areas.
- Nightlights are used, especially between the
bed and bathroom.
- Cords and wires are not stretched across
pathways or under rugs.
- Carpet, tile and floorboards lie flat and are
in good repair.
- I do not use unsecured mats or loose rugs in or
around my home.
- Area rugs have non-slip backing or are secured
with double-sided tape on all sides.
- Furniture is arranged to prevent tripping and
pathways are kept clear.
- Work and storage areas are organized so they
are within easy reach.
- There is always a phone within easy reach.
Emergency numbers are posted.
- I always use a sturdy stepstool or ladder to
reach high places - NEVER a chair.
- I never climb a stepstool or ladder when I am
- Spills are wiped up immediately to prevent
- I wear supportive, low-heeled, non-slip shoes -
even at home.
- In wet weather, I wear non-slip boots or
rubbers and avoid slippery surfaces.
- I pay attention to floors in public buildings,
especially if they are waxed or wet.
- I am always aware of traffic and traffic
signals when crossing the street.
- I am a defensive walker, watching for traffic,
bicycles and rollerbladers.
- When getting out of a vehicle, I take my time,
especially if the ground is uneven.
- If recommended by my health care provider, I
use my cane, walker or walking stick.
- I plan outings to allow plenty of time - I
- I plan ahead so that I do not go out during
rush hour, darkness or bad weather.
- My vision and hearing have been checked within
the past year.
- I take my reading glasses off while I am not
- I have reviewed my medications with my doctor
and have talked about possible side effects or interactions.
- My medications are clearly labeled and I take
them as prescribed.
- I eat nutritious, well balanced meals with
adequate calcium and vitamin D.
- To maintain strength and balance, I exercise
regularly (with doctor's approval).
- To avoid negative effects on my judgment, I
moderate my alcohol consumption.
- I engage in activities that stimulate my mind
and keep my brain active and supple.
- I have an answering machine or portable phone -
I do not rush to answer the phone.
- I have arranged for daily contact with a friend
or family member.
- I ask for assistance with heavy work.
- I keep an eye out for dangers and hazards.
- I am careful not to get up too quickly,
especially after lying down, resting or eating.
- I wear sunglasses on sunny days to cut down the
glare and protect my eyes.
- I discourage my pets from sleeping in pathways
- Visiting children are taught to pick up toys
from the floor, stairs or hallways.
A report from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates more than one third of
adults age 65 years and older fall each year, with a majority of these
falls occurring in the home.
Reprinted by permission of the Brain Injury
Association of New Jersey